Here are a few other ways we could spend this vast expanse of money.
I’m flabbergasted at how blithely many people are accepting the $1.6 billion price tag for Southwest light rail. Maybe the number is just too large to comprehend — so here are some comparisons. It represents more than $300 for every man, woman and child in Minnesota. It is 20 times the annual construction budget of all 400 parks in the National Park Service program. It is 70 percent more than President Obama’s budget to help the 50 states prepare for climate change. It exceeds, according to World Bank statistics, the last reported U.S. foreign aid to Iraq.
For an investment of this stunning magnitude, we need a far better return than what the Met Council is projecting: taking 4,000 cars off the road — by 2030! — and providing train service to 12,000 Eden Prairie commuters, the route’s largest user group, who already have access to fine and faster bus service.
Let’s get past the ugliness, name-calling and municipal enmities that have come to characterize this public debate. And let’s stop dancing to the jingle of coins in Washington. We need to open our minds to all the facts and make a rational decision about whether promised benefits — meager at best — are worth the environmental damage and safety risks they entail, and whether they justify paying the highest price for any public-works project in Minnesota history.
Mary Pattock, Minneapolis
Obama is unwilling to make the real repairs
Let’s say your roof has been leaking for years. Recently it’s been leaking so much that some of your family members are complaining. It has become a real “situation,” if you know what I mean.
What do you do? If you are the Obama administration, you borrow money to buy more buckets to hold the leaks. Some wonder why the administration is afraid to fix the roof, the purpose of which is to provide protection from external invasion by rain and snow.
Michael Bates, Ham Lake
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Sometimes reality in front of us gets ignored for hot language. Those on the right think we need to seal the border. Well, what do they think is happening when we capture 50,000-plus kids at the border? It’s sealed. Past legislation gives those kids the right to a hearing, and that is a different issue. But as far as stopping illegal entries, we’re doing that, and the numbers tell us so.
Richard Breitman, Minneapolis
Like it or not, he’s a topic of discussion
I bought a Star Tribune to read about the defamation suit regarding Jesse Ventura and Chris Kyle. I happen to agree with Ventura that President George W. Bush’s foreign policy and invasion of Iraq were huge mistakes. (I don’t believe President Obama’s policies are any better.)
Whatever took place in that San Diego bar in 2006 will come to light eventually, and hopefully justice will prevail. When I turned to the opinion pages and saw cartoonist Steve Sack’s portrayal view of Mr. Ventura, I am not sure what emotion surfaced first — probably disgust (“Cartoon insulted former governor and veterans,” Readers Write, July 10). However, whether I like the cartoonist’s view or not, he has as much right to freedom of speech as Ventura.
Keeley Todd, Bovey, Minn.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.