Readers Write: (Oct. 18): Federal budget, Southwest LRT, Bachmann's seat, Minneapolis mayor's race, the word 'cool'

  • Updated: October 17, 2013 - 6:23 PM

Serious voices busy themselves asking serious questions about what has transpired.


Illustration: Mailbox.

Photo: ., Tribune Media Services

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger


The deal and the damage done

Now that a deal has been reached to avoid default on the United States’ sovereign debt and end the partial government shutdown, many voices are hailing it as a triumph for reasonableness and sensibility. There may even be some truth to that.

However, serious voices busy themselves asking serious questions about what has transpired. Has this development indeed ushered in a new era of progress and placed us on track for a sustainable fiscal future? Or has it done nothing to forestall the financial ruin that, despite today’s fleeting optimism, virtually everyone still thinks is coming?

A deal may have been reached, but it may only have delayed the inevitable. The only thing that seems clear is that real solutions will be those without the overheated rhetoric and melodramatic posturing.


• • •

Those on right wing of the Republican Party think they fought the good fight. This “good fight” negatively affected the financial well-being of hundreds of thousands of government workers while not affecting those Republicans at all. It could increase the borrowing costs of the United States, because the strength of the dollar is now encumbered with partisan politics. It has put the good faith and credit of the United States in question — they basically said it is OK not to pay our bills. It will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to have paid people for not working and to reopen government agencies.

If this was a “good fight,” what would be a “bad fight?”




Don’t assume freight design is unworkable

Responding to Metropolitan Council Member Steve Elkins’ Oct. 17 commentary regarding the Southwest light-rail decision delay (“Why freight rail can’t be rerouted to St. Louis Park”): No, we don’t need to plow new ground on freight-rail relocation options; all we need is the straight skinny. Elkins accepts at face value the railroad’s contentions, but others don’t — including experienced freight train operators. If the timeout is merely a tactical gesture, it’s a waste of time.

The many years of Southwest planning can be characterized as: the wrong people, working at the wrong time, on the wrong issue-framing, using the wrong process, yielding the wrong outcome. To achieve a viable regional consensus, a genuine effort at making it right needs to include an unbiased assessment of the reasonableness of the railroad’s demands. If several more stations, including West Lake, are going to be “thrown under the bus” with freight tracks/trains immediately adjacent, people need to feel confident that the wool wasn’t pulled over the eyes of decisionmakers.



The writer is a civil engineer.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


  • about opinion

  • 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.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters