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Off The Editor’s Desk – 9-9-2015

If you are a regular traveler on the Inter-State highway system you no doubt have experienced the heavy amount of traffic that uses the highways.

 Traveling back to the Minnesota State Fair on a daily basis, I found out how much traffic the highway system carries. As soon as I jump on I-94 at Wilson, you find yourself in the midst of heavy traffic. Vehicles of all sizes; cars, pickups, vans and a lot of trucks speed down the Inter-State at speeds above the 70 miles per hour limit.

But one thing that was very evident while traveling to the fairgrounds in St. Paul is that most cars, including mine, have only one person in it. I assume, and sometimes that’s not good, but I think most of those vehicles are carrying people to work.

I began to wonder, are we in western Wisconsin and the Minnesota border counties ready for some sort of mass transit system to carry us into the Twin Cities for our job, shopping or attending some event.

But, how many of us would take advantage of it, such as a bus or light rail. It is way too convenient to jump into the reliable car and head for our destination.

I went to the Internet and looked up a couple of Minnesota car-pooling sites. First, was called “Sharing the ride,” which stated, “you can save hundreds of dollars every year and arrive to work less stressed, and happier by sharing the ride with others who live or work near you.”

A site called Zimride which is at the University of Minnesota for friends, classmates, and co-workers going the same way you are.” They claim that sharing could save seven million miles annually and has the potential reduction of CO2 by over a million and half pounds.

Another site (Carpooling) claims it would take 117,004 cars off the road and save 67 million gallons of fuel.

Here is my solution: Lets build a light rail line with its hub at Downing and one line running from Downing to Wilson on to Woodville through Baldwin, Hammond, Roberts, Hudson and under the St. Croix River and terminating at the Union Depot in St. Paul.

A second line would start at Colfax, onto Wheeler, Boyceville and into Downing and then would zip to Emerald, Forest and into New Richmond and connect with the first line at Hudson, or maybe cross the River on the new bridge at Stillwater which is now scheduled to be completed sometime in 2017.

We should be able to get the entire project done for somewhere around a Trillion Dollars, more or less. As a country, we have spent money on crazier ideas than that. Lets get moving!

Thanks for reading ~Carlton