The Future of Transportation: Not Light Rail. Driverless Cars.

The following item is the featured Letter of the Day on the StarTribune’s June 2, 2014 editorial page.

The Future of Transportation: Not Light Rail. Driverless Cars.

In an age when technology and innovation giants such as Google and transportation elites such as Mercedes, BMW and Volvo are actively working on and currently testing driverless cars that in the near future will efficiently transport people from point A to point B (“Next phase in driverless cars,” May 28), why is the Metropolitan Council pushing for a further expansion of an archaic and expensive taxpayer-subsidized light-rail system? While the council would like us to believe that light-rail transit is the future of transportation, nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing “light” about light rail. It is a fixed-route, heavy-resource-using dinosaur designed to transport people on a fixed schedule to finite fixed locations. Advocating for light rail in today’s world is analogous to pushing for a fixed-line phone system designed to transmit faxes in the early 1990s.

The future of efficient transportation is obvious if one simply looks at what we know people want and what solutions are on the horizon. We need to stop this blind madness now. Light rail is today’s fax machine, only far more expensive and embarrassing. If we are serious about creating an efficient transportation system and being economically competitive, then let’s become Google’s first large test market and junk the plans for expanding light rail.

Jerry Johnson, Eden Prairie