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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Damn Northstar Boondoggle Rail

--posted by Tony Garcia on 2/09/2006

This from the Krinkie for Congress update:
Once again, the Taxpayers have been sold a bill of goods.

First, it was recently reported that “unexpected costs” have added an additional $24 million to the already expensive price tag for the Northstar Commuter-rail line; a wasteful boondoggle that only Congressional candidate, Phil Krinkie, has consistently voted against.

As with protecting the taxpayer against expensive stadium proposals and other wasteful pork barrel spending, Representative Krinkie is the go-to-guy as the most ardent defender of the taxpayer.

"I am sure that this is just one of what will be many cost increases if this project is indeed built," Krinkie said.

Now we learn, from a report by our State Auditor Pat Anderson, that there are a number of new, potentially scandalous problems with this project that both Jim Knoblach and Michele Bachmann have voted to fund.

"The State Auditor’s Office found that the Executive Director of the Northstar Project charged more than $8,000 on meals on at least 222 separate occasions from January 1, 2003 to May 2005. This number averages out to approximately one meal for every three working days over that time period. . .”

And perhaps worse:

"The contracts and invoices the State Auditor’s Office reviewed for three contractors gave the impression that NCDA and ACRRA were each paying separate retainer fees for the same services relating to the development of the Northstar Corridor. . .” Contracts paid four consulting companies nearly $3.4 million, and according to the Auditor the duplicate costs “mask the actual cost of the project.”

Whether it is the Hiawatha light rail line, or the Northstar Commuter-rail, it is clear that the costs sold to the taxpayer when Phil's Republican opponents voted for these sorts of wasteful rail lines is no where near what we will all end up paying.
I am all of these candidate's mailing lists and I normally do not post the stuff that comes from them. However, the Northstar rail is something that I feel very strongly AGAINST. This is one position by the 4 candidates that will weigh heavily to me. To ME these choo-choo train projects have no return on investment thus they highlight two positions: unnecessary pork vs responsible fiscal management. What I would like to know about the candidates: what were their positions on the Hiawatha boondoggle?

(Why is this NOT a scoreboard issue? I have already evaluated the candidates on their Northstar position.)


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