According to this article from Thisweek, Dakota County’s illustrious Commissioners are considering raising taxes to cover…wait for it…Bus Rapid Transit and the Cedar Transitway. You know, the same BRT and Transitway that Will Branning was “working so very hard” to procure funding for but never could. But it’s not like you weren’t warned that this exact thing would happen. You may or may not recall but way back in January of 2009 I said:
In typical fashion, Dakota County is pushing forward with plans for Cedar Ave’s Bus Rapid Transit corridor even though there is nearly a 20% financial hole that has yet to be filled. I’m not quite sure why they’re so flustered about where this funding is going to come from as they know exactly where to find the money…via additional taxes on everyone, especially bus riders.
Well, Will Branning’s dream of funding BRT has come true. They have built out some of the unnecessary infrastructure, like the money wasting and poorly designed $21 million Apple Valley Transit Station (which in winter is as cold as can be and in summer is as hot as can be), and empty transit stations in farm fields. Exactly how much money will come out of the taxpayers’ pockets on this one?
From the Thisweek article linked at the top of the post:
Commissioners also talked about raising the 2011 Regional Rail levy 38 percent.
Although the percentage increase sounds significant, the result on a median-value home, which for 2011 is $206,100, would increase $2.35 per year, going from $5.69 per year to $8.04 annually.
The funds would help pay for continued transit improvements along Cedar Avenue and the Robert Street corridor.
Well most people would say that such a small increase in taxes isn’t all that bad–hardly noticeable. Well when your house is already upside down and slipping further and further into the hole I just don’t see how the Dakota County Commissioners could seriously feel that taking any additional money out of our pockets would be acceptable. No, we didn’t want BRT in the first place, no we don’t want streetscape enhancements, no you should not have paid someone to re-sod all the dead sod around the AVTS, and no we should not even be thinking about buying new buses to add to a route where you have already failed to implement a very expensive “Bus 2.0″ concept except for a useless simulator which at least one of you happily described as like a ValleyFair ride. The same amusement park that many families may not be able to enjoy next summer because you raised their taxes and depleted their savings even further than you already have… If we’re all cutting back because we have less money so should you. Just because you have less money doesn’t mean you get to take it from the taxpayers.
I am absolutely disgusted with the actions of the Dakota County Commissioners regarding BRT. The State regards it as a wasteful expenditure and refuses to fund it, the residents couldn’t care less if it happens today, tomorrow or 12 years from now and the cities really cannot afford to pay for your requirements to make it look pretty. Please do us all a favor and resign effective yesterday. You are not being good stewards of our tax dollars and raising taxes is not an acceptable thing to do for something which can wait.
What do you think about the thought of Dakota County’s taxes raising to cover BRT on top of the threat of your local cities raising taxes to cover their own ridiculous $20+ million expenditures which they promised would never cost the taxpayers a cent? Do you think it’s a reasonable request to put BRT’s more useless requirements on hold until the economy recovers (however long that takes) or do you think that these are things which must happen right now–even with the suburbs shrinking as people move back to the urban core? If the County Commissioners voted to raise taxes would you vote them in again? Whatever you have to say about the thought of raising taxes to cover Bus Rapid Transit and the Cedar Transitway go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.