Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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woofner
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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby woofner » September 11th, 2012, 12:38 pm

Spectre, where are you getting the requirement that projects be "shovel ready"? That is not listed in the RFP I linked to above nor in the enabling legislation for the granting program. It's actually typical for bonding bill projects to be years away from construction - either last year or the year before the Republicans tried to cancel funding for some as-yet-unbuilt projects that had been funded in bonding bills 10-15 years ago.

As for losing $14m, the problem is that the USDOT has told the project staff that they're ready to commit engineering funds, but they need the local match to be committed first - this $14m is part of that I think $50m, the rest of which is coming from CTIB and the Met Council. I'm not sure why CTIB can't up its ante, maybe it's hit its bonding limit for this year? Even if they are able to get the money from CTIB next year, that's 4-6 months that have been lost, and in a huge project like this you can imagine the cascading chain of deadlines. Assuming this is a $1b project, and assuming inflation is 2%, delaying the project for a year will cost at least $20m, or more than the amount applied for.

Having re-read the grant criteria in the enabling legislation, it seems more likely that the hangup for SWLRT was the operating cost. That factor wasn't reflected in their scoring categories, but seems important to the crafters of the legislation.
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spectre000
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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby spectre000 » September 11th, 2012, 1:41 pm

I think it was clearly understood throughout the whole legislature process that the bonding bill (and this special allocation) was to create immediate jobs, specifically construction field jobs, where unemployment is higher than the average.

The Lowertown Ballpark will be under construction by next spring, SWLRT 2015-16 best case. Pretty hard to justify spending 1/3 of these funds on planning and engineering. Yes there are jobs created, but not the ones in fields that are struggling the most and in the news everyday. SWLRT should've scored higher, but I think it still would've fallen short of making the top of the list. SWLRT may not have been hurt by the fact that it wouldn't have started construction for another few years (scoring wise), but it certainly wasn't helped by it. Unlike the Saints ballpark.

Here is a link to the Capital Grants Program Manual. http://www.mmb.state.mn.us/doc/bonds/gr ... manual.pdf. More specific about the details of this specific line item than the enabling legislation you linked. No mention of shovel-ready that I can find, but I still stand by that it was implied in the program.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby mattaudio » September 11th, 2012, 2:09 pm

It bothers me. Why should we be catering to a sector that's producing less jobs? If there are less construction jobs, maybe those folks can go to school to get into engineering and pre-construction work if there's demand for that. Or anything else. But we need to spend our money on things that we need built, not things that are built for building's sake.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby MNdible » September 11th, 2012, 2:21 pm

spectre000 wrote:I think it was clearly understood throughout the whole legislature process that the bonding bill (and this special allocation) was to create immediate jobs, specifically construction field jobs, where unemployment is higher than the average.
I assure you that unemployment in the engineering and architecture fields is also higher than average.

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woofner
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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby woofner » September 11th, 2012, 2:38 pm

spectre000 wrote:I think it was clearly understood throughout the whole legislature process that the bonding bill (and this special allocation) was to create immediate jobs, specifically construction field jobs, where unemployment is higher than the average.
Politicians say a lot about how many jobs they're going to create and how they're going to embetter America, but it doesn't matter much if it doesn't get put into law. Not that I would have been opposed to such a provision, although I think it would be ill-advised to specify the sector the jobs should go to. Regardless if it wasn't in the bill you can't really go back and say "well Mark Dayton said...."

That Grants Program Manual isn't really specific to this program but is more geared towards general bonding bill items. Check line 39.6 of my link, or actually the RFP linked above is the most specific to the Business Development Capital Grants Program.

To be clear, I'm not sure that SWLRT should have gotten a top score here, but it is hard to understand the score it got based on the title of the categories, and it's hard to believe that it would score worse for Business Development than, say, a cross-country skiing trail or a senior apartment building.
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spectre000
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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby spectre000 » September 11th, 2012, 3:20 pm

MNdible wrote:I assure you that unemployment in the engineering and architecture fields is also higher than average.
Maybe so, but clearly the construction unions know how to work the political system better than others. ;)


To redisciple - It would be nice to hear how DEED defined and judged the criteria in question. I'm sure they had a system that made logical sense to them. It would be nice if they could share that with public. SWLRT should've scored in the 50's or even 60's.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby MNdible » September 12th, 2012, 12:54 pm

Doubtful that this will have any impact on anything, but at least it's good to see that somebody is paying attention:

Barnes Calls on Governor to Fund SW LRT

(Barnes is running for Representative from the 3rd Congressional District, which contains a good chunk of the SW LRT route.)

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby mullen » September 13th, 2012, 10:27 am

wow 2 million dollars...thanks for nothing governor.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby MNdible » September 13th, 2012, 10:32 am

It may be just enough to convince the feds that the State has some skin in the game, and have the CTIB cover the rest for now. Eventually, though, the State will need to pony up its full $100m share.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby kirby96 » September 13th, 2012, 10:56 am

Yeah, I gotta think there's some politics at work here. He's not going to just throw $2MM away if it's not going to do any good. He would have given SWLRT $0 if that was the case.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby Didier » September 13th, 2012, 12:38 pm

This Star Tribune editorial pretty clearly says that the reason the SWLRT scored low in that analysis is because its time frame did not fit the criteria.
The estimated 3,500 jobs in construction, and 325 permanent positions -- let alone the nine-to-one leveraging of state dollars -- would normally have ranked the project much higher in DEED's data. But the criteria of projects being "shovel-ready" within about a six- to 12-month time frame doesn't fit the multiyear Southwest project timeline. And yet the project may lose its place in line for federal funding if some state investment isn't made.
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/edit ... ml?refer=y

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby MotorCity2TwinCities » September 14th, 2012, 11:31 am

I am new to this forum and recently moved to downtown Minneapolis from Detroit in May. I love living in the twin cities so far and a hobby of mine is following urban development and mass transit (particularly rail) updates/articles. I have been reading this forum quite a bit since I found it and I had been reading through Minnescraper but it seems that website is no longer up and running. Anyways, now that I have introduced myself, I figured that I would post the message that I sent to the governor today about the SW LRT line following his decision to award the line a mediocre $2 million.

Governor Dayton,

I am not one to write letters to community leaders, in fact this is the first time that I ever have even considered it, however I feel compelled to do so after reading an article detailing how the DEED money was allocated. As an attorney with a great deal of experience with urban development and transit and a true passion for the subject, I believe that the Southwest Light Rail Transit Line is extremely important to the continued development and health of the twin cities, and is a much better candidate for funding than a parking garage in Duluth and a sub-minor league baseball stadium in a market where a professional team already exists. While I understand that the St. Paul ballpark received funding partly as a "consolation prize" to keep St. Paul satisfied after Minneapolis was "awarded" the new Vikings stadium and also because the project is "shovel-ready," I think that the success of the Hiawatha Line, as well as the projected ridership numbers for the Central Corridor, should make it clear that Light Rail Transit works in the Twin Cities. According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Legislative Officer, the twin cities ranks fourth in the entire United States in subsidy per passenger, meaning that only four other cities spend less per passenger with light rail transit. In addition, a report from the University of Minnesota that studied all forms of transportation in the twin cities found that urban busses, suburban busses, and express busses all spend at least $1 more on subsidies per passenger than the existing Hiawatha line and Central Corridor line. With all of that said, as well as hundreds of other studies showing the success and benefits of light rail both here and elsewhere and my own research on the subject, I find it frustrating when legislators state that light rail is a "waste of taxpayer money," etc. It could not be more obvious that Light Rail is something that works in the twin cities and that Minnesota must not leave federal funds for light rail on the table, especially since the federal government has committed to matching state funds for the project 9 to 1! The Southwest Light Rail Transit Line must be given the attention and funding that such a beneficial project deserves and must be developed. City services like numerous light rail transit lines are what make good cities into truly great ones.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby trkaiser » October 1st, 2012, 9:21 am

This seems like an interesting development in the story:

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012 ... 37107.html

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby MNdible » October 1st, 2012, 9:41 am

Wow! I'll be interested to read more details on this.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby FISHMANPET » October 1st, 2012, 10:07 am

I wonder what this means? That article says it will pull it past Congressional gridlock, but what say does Congress have at this point? Is MAP-21 that different that Congress gets a say in what does and doesn't get funded?

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby min-chi-cbus » October 1st, 2012, 11:34 am

IDK whether I believe anything that comes from the mouth of the Government, but what would this mean if it IS true -- awarding contracts to contractors? IOW, is there anything ELSE that can delay or derail this project at this point??

I'm just stoked that the two cities I have a vested interest in -- Cleveland and Minneapolis -- are for once part of the same article regarding economic redevelopment! I'm a bit surprised there wasn't a stop at Little Italy already in Cleveland, but for those who don't know much about its Little Italy, it's the closest thing to an urban Italian neighborhood and true Little Italy I've ever seen in this country.....it's fantastic!

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby Tcmetro » October 1st, 2012, 1:22 pm


Didier
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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby Didier » October 1st, 2012, 1:23 pm

On MPR it was reported that this would take several months off the construction time.

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby Lancestar2 » October 1st, 2012, 3:03 pm


Does anyone else think it was a pure political move? Ohio is a key battle ground that if the president wins will mostly spell victory for his re-election. Also by including Minnesota's transit project it looks less like it was just a way to rally support in ohio! heck for a second I even considered voting for the guy! LOL :lol:

Anyone know what this really means? I would assume this project is a express/no stops train until 2018 grand opening now!

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Re: Southwest LRT

Postby Didier » October 1st, 2012, 4:09 pm

It's all political.


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