Would You Take the Train to Minneapolis if it Came All the Way to St. Cloud?
Governor Dayton's budget proposal includes a plan to extend the Northstar Line twenty-seven more miles from Big Lake to St. Cloud. Opponents say it costs too much to extend. If that's the case, why was it built in the first place?
I mean really, the tracks are in place, St. Cloud is in place, the train exists, there's already an Amtrak station here in St. Cloud, we're all here; I mean I don't claim to have all the answers -- but what could possibly be the enormous cost of extending the line?
Opponents will also say that ridership of the Northstar Line has fallen short of expectations. That doesn't seem like much of a surprise for a train that ends in Big Lake. Sometimes you have to finish a job before measuring the results. (???)
I think I heard that 14,000+ St. Cloud residents commute a significant distance on a daily basis, with the majority heading to work in the Twin Cities. (I hear the train a comin'...) The mentality of a train to Big Lake is like a train from Minneapolis to Duluth -- ending in Cloquet, then taking bus the rest of the way.
I don't work in the Cities, but I do play in the Cities -- and there's not a Twins, Wild, T-Wolves, Gophers or Vikings game that I would go to that the train wouldn't make sense (if it came all the way to St. Cloud).
As my Dad used to say when my brother would do a half-assed job on something, "Do you want a ride all the way to football practice, or just three-quarters of the way?"
I want it all the way (to St. Cloud thank you very much.) Call me when it's a done deal. Taking the bus or driving to Big Lake to catch the train is just a couple steps too many for me.