Editorial Counterpoint: We Can’t Afford a Light-rail Boondoggle That’s Already Obsolete
JEFF SWENSEN NEW YORK TIMES
An Uber self-driving Ford Fusion hit the streets in Pittsburgh, Sept. 8. Federal safety regulators strongly endorsed semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles as key to the future of the national transportation system, issuing detailed guidelines Sept. 19.
Amid the incredible muck of this year’s presidential campaign, a prim and proper editorial raised its timid voice Oct. 13, earnestly bewailing alleged “metro-bashing campaigns” in Greater Minnesota. The editorial, “Transit support isn’t absent outstate,” claimed that a “survey” conducted by the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership — an advocacy group — shows “nearly two out of three” respondents supported a gas-tax increase, and 76 percent supported allowing metro area-only funding for light rail.
The editorial’s gentle spin didn’t sink to presidential depths — but a quick fact-check is needed.
The editorial admits the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership’s “survey call” is “not as reliable” as a “scientific poll.” Quite an understatement. The partnership’s “survey” was sent to its followers via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. That’s fine for a petition — not so much for a “survey.”
The editorial reports that “nearly two out of three” supported a gas-tax increase — but ignored the partnership’s question: “How much would you pay?” Only 18 percent would accept a 12-cent increase — Gov. Mark Dayton originally wanted an even higher 16-cent hike. The Star Tribune’s own March 2015 scientific poll on Dayton’s gas-tax plan reported (emphasis added): “opposition is fiercest … in outstate Minnesota, where about three out of five residents are against the plan.”
To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune