Note: I will be adding the council video when available.
No secret that I have never like that project, but I do have to admit that the council actually listened to what I had to say. My opinion can be changed, but the current, “just make it up as we go” justification is not going to do it. This is being forced through for all the wrong reasons.
Here are the questions that I think need to be answered:
- Is this the most effective way to deal with traffic in the NW?
- Is it appropriate for tax payers to subsidize this infrastructure to the tune of many millions of dollars?
- Are we going to subsidize both construction and operations in the area?
- If this is MN-DOTs #1 priority interchange, why should the city choose to fund it now?
- Since we already have a 30 year supply of developable land, should we subsidize more?
- Have we taken any steps to prevent the mistakes at 40th / 48th streets and 55th street?
- Are we really going to build this with sales tax dollars before we know if we have sales tax dollars?
Some additional facts:
- We have not had meetings to discuss the above questions.
- We have already built 50th avenue which could alleviate much of the 55th street congestion. This is very under utilized.
- Intersections and congestion could be fixed by making inexpensive changes like removing some turning movements.
- Better transit would give commuters a choice in the are.
Here is what I have learned about the 40th and 48th street interchanges.
- The projects in the area cost taxpayers around $85 million.
- The region actually has not seen an increase in retail jobs according to MSA data. In other words for every job created out there, we lost as many or more elsewhere.
- Sales tax revenue has continued to grow with population. This did not increase or growth.
- Property taxes generated in the are likely do not cover the cost of services. Mostly because land area is the number one driver of costs for both public works and public safety with is the majority of our budget.
- We have had to rewrite agreements with developers in the area as they have failed to be able pay on time.
- We were sued and lost to a developer unhappy with his assessments.
- Though the public was told that we would get a quality walkable development, we got big box sprawl where you can’t even safely walk between buildings.