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Wetterling hits Bachmann on light rail

WCCO has the story:

Democrat Patty Wetterling criticized Republican Michele Bachmann for her Minnesota Senate vote in favor of amendments that would have stripped state Northstar appropriations in 2002 and 2005.

Wetterling said she wants to extend the $307 million line between Minneapolis and Big Lake all the way to St. Cloud.

Bachmann voted for the 2005 bonding bill containing more than $37 million for Northstar, but voted against the 2006 bonding bill, which included $60 million for the project. She said the district's residents care more about roads than transit and that's a better way to spend government money.

This could be an effective line of attack as voters go to the polls to decide the fate of the transportation amendment.


I support LRT and commuter rail, but I will be voting against that amendment. The legislators should be making those decisions - and budgets need flexibility, not dedicated funds.

I agree with Eva Young on the issue of tying special spending to certain taxes.

The proper method is to tax according to a plan that can be viewed as the optimal way to allocate taxes independent of where the expenditures go. Then, separately, to spend a balanced amount, in whatever ways seem optimal.

Tax credits, deductions, earmarked spending, etc. are biases that make a less efficient system.

The planning should be the reverse. What is needed where to keep the university excellent and to prepare [educate] the next generation to be sound citizens and positive factors for the economy twenty-thirty years hence.

Then having that total amount, how is the government's revenue raising to be done.

The worse in that system would be special interests having a loud enough voice to gain an above optimal amount of spending, and/or pay a suboptimal tax.

I see a major state and federal place in education spending because locale of education and locale of adult life is variable with social mobility, so that the quality of schooling in Georgia likely will have a local reach as well as a national effect, in the average. Leaving it local sounds resonant, but if you look at the range of impact of bad schools, or faulty curicula, the problems become delocalized.

What I would like to see is the Binkowski view of Social Security; because we know Wetterling says keep it solvent and do not privatize; Bachmann says partially privatize it and where John Binkowski fits there is interesting.

I expect Wetterling will jump Bachmann later and closer to election day on the Social Security issue since her position has strong majority support and the privatization schemes are viewed skeptically.

On mass transit, there is a problem in doing it piecemeal. Lines leading downtown, with no perimiter to perimiter routes miss a great deal of the regional commuting needs.

Northstar uses BNSF rails and if you do not own the tracks and right-of-way there will always be the primary schedule and the secondary one, with the transit being secondary to cargo hauling. There will be no opportunity to expand services easily to non-peak hours.

Finally will the decrease in auto traffic be more than made up by growth in the north end suburbs; i.e.,would the spending on additional Highway 10 lanes actually be wiser and more in line with local MN 6 feelings of priority? I expect so.