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Monday, April 20, 2015

Red Rock Corridor Commission Fail to Report Major Costs in Study Report

Comment on Facebook Article: Red Rock Corridor Commission Fail to Report Major Costs in Study Report

From December 2013:

On December 16th 2013 the Red Rock Corridor Commission released that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was the best transit choice for the 30 mile corridor from Hastings to St. Paul in their December Alternative Analysis Update.

However in this report they now have the cost of the BRT project at just $45 million and they quote the 2007 Alternative Analysis report (AA). One problem, the AA report prices the BRT alternative at $75 million for just the shoulder upgrades, not $45 million, on page 9.
That's in 2007 dollars multiply that by 3.5% a year to get 2014 dollars. That'd be $95 million dollars in 2014 dollars.

Now a half a dozen local media sources are un-intentionally reporting a false low cost estimate to build the Red Rock Corridor!This sounds eerily similar to back in 2012 when the project manager Andy Gitzlaff told in an exclusive article the now $6.45 million dollar transit station was only going to cost $2.5 million. An outrageous underestimation. 

Come to find out, the $45 million dollar quote is leaving out MAJOR expenses. 
Such as: 
 -$6.45 million for the New Port transit station (cost
-$6.3 million to build a bus only connection from 61 to the Newport Transit Station (p.37)
-Apx $6 million to build a Transit Station in Hastings (cost left out). (p. 10)
-Apx $4 million (at least) to build a bus maintenance shop (estimate off Red Line's shop)
-And millions of dollars in unmentioned ramp upgrades and shoulder expansions. 

Furthermore, even the $75 million cost estimate for the 30 mile BRT corridor is grossly underestimated. The just 11 mile Red Line Corridor in Apple Valley cost $112 million! The Red Rock Corridor is planning to be 3x as long. 

One can further question how they assume the 8 mile of bus only shoulder lane and ramp expansion on TH61 to Hastings is only going to cost $1 million dollars. It should cost tens of millions like the other metro BRT shoulder and ramp expansions for that distance. Add up all the known missing costs from this Red Rock Corridor AAU ($22.5 million) along with the $20 million in additional cost due to inflation (using their own 3.5% a year assumption) and a total of $42.5 million dollars needs to be added to the $45 million they predicted (not including the 8 mile stretch to Hastings). For a grand total cost of $87.5 million at the very least (using lowest estimates).

The $87.5 does not include the TENS OF MILLIONS in cost to do the 30 miles of shoulder and ramp upgrades. Mysteriously that's left out of the AAU. Again, it must be questioned why a BRT transit line 11 miles long in Apple Valley cost $112 million (finished in 2013) while a 30 mile BRT transit line in South Washington County is only $45 million (their estimate).

Lastly, the ridership numbers they are using to justify construction of this line are arbitrary predictions on ridership in the year 2030! BRT riders are predicted to be 2,420 weekly riders. According to MNDot current ridership on the Apple Valley Red Line BRT corridor (which services a larger population than Red Rock will) only sees 850 (835 rounded up) riders per week. (p.26

850 riders a week on the Red Line (rounded up from actual 835) sounds like a lot; however on a 90,000 car a week road this $112 million dollar BRT line in Apple Valley is hardly successful. 

This comes on the heels of public survey manipulation to get favorable results:

The local media have made it clear they aren't going to write about report after report of these skewed numbers. 

Please share these articles and facts the media is not going to report. The average citizen is unfortunately unaware. 

Also, please contact your County Commissioners, explain you are disappointed in the lack of accountability the Red Rock Corridor staff has. They have to power to enforce accurate survey taking, honest assessments, and deligent review before we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on these transit corridors in Washington County. 

-Matt Behning
at Washington County Watchdog          651-430-6211          651-738-2425         651-430-6213              651-430-6215