Feb 17, 2012

Why We're Broke, Lutefish Edition

Star-Tribune*  owners should award a small bonus to the copy desk drone who wrote: "Twin Cities Chase a Desire Named Street Car."

The headline is happy, the rest of the story less so. It's about a quarter-million in Federal Reserve Cartoons  to be spent  by St. Paul studying a new street car scheme. That's on top of $1.2 million Sis-City  Minneapolis is pissing away   investing to "analyze" potential steet car "corridors."

Mind you, this million-five doesn't actually build anything except a pile of dusty paper which, if honest, will confirm close to a century of American experience that street cars aren't worth a damn unless they are paid for by people who don't use them. It is the Cabrini Green principle** applied to mass transit.

But, well, they're kind of neat. Nostalgic and Asethetic and Romantic. Who says so? None other than His Ineptness (speaking of Cabrini Green).

Two years ago, "the Obama administration decided that transit projects could be evaluated for economic development and social benefits rather than just ridership and costs."

Translation: If three city council members, two loud-mouth hippies who eventually got rich trading pork belly futures, and one politically-connected construction company think street cars are cute, we're gonna get street cars which, like Blanche DuBois, will always depend on the kindness of strangers.

But as an occasional visitor to Minneapolis and St. Paul,  I can look forward to my moment of drama. Step off the Lutefisk Trolly. Stand outside the big house all emoed up.  "Stella...Steeella!"

No, wait. "Lena...Leeena!"


*The second most important newspaper in Minnesota, after The St. Cloud Times.

**"Build it and They Will Eff it Up at an Astronomical Cost to Innocent Tax-Paying Citizens Everywhere."

H/T to the author of the World's Greatest Travel Blog who is not responsible for any opinion which might have snuck into this blog entry despite it's intent to present a straightforward, objective, and dispassionate report of one of the great issues of the day.

No comments: