Green Line report largely positive

Daily Editorial Board

A report released early last month revealed that the Green Line light rail has resulted in shorter commutes and greater access to jobs for Twin Cities residents, most notably for those who reside in St. Paul. 
 
Due to the Green Line, average commuters from the state’s capital have access to about 2,000 additional jobs that are less than 30 minutes away, according to the report. But not all of the feedback for the newest light rail line has been positive. 
 
One of the main issues that have become prevalent is the loss of revenue from free riders, whose fare evasion is estimated to cost Metro Transit between $15,849 and $28,343 every week. Moreover, businesses along the light rail line have reported mixed reactions to the expected revenue increases they were initially
anticipating, after construction along the line negatively affected some businesses. 
 
For supporters of the proposed new Southwest corridor, findings of increased job access may bolster backing for the project. However, there are a number of issues that have yet to be resolved — such as agreeing where to cut $341 million from the project. 
 
We feel that initial reports of the Green Line’s benefits send a strong message that continuing to expand the light rail system would be largely positive for the community. However, problems like fare evasion need to be addressed, as fares cover more than one-third of the Green Line’s expenses.  
 
Finally, many of the initial complaints surrounding the Green Line were solved or did not materialize. Detractors of the new Southwest corridor would do well to recognize this.