Comparing the Vikings Stadium Boondoggle to the Hiawatha LRT

One common justification of wasting $650,000,000 in borrowed public money on an unnecessary NFL stadium (and 21,000 car parking lot) in Arden Hills is “We’ve wasted money on other projects, so why not keep wasting money?”.

It’s a strange approach to justifying Vikings stadium Wilfare, but what’s even stranger is looking at the projects mentioned as examples of previous waste. For example, the Hiawatha LRT line:

@edkohler for the ROI I'll take what the #vikings bring to the state, unjustifiable is subjective See: light rail boondoggle.

Here are some numbers that help explain the differences:

Project
Vikings Stadium
Hiawatha LRT
Cost:
$1,100,000,000
$715,300,000
Cost to State/County*:
$650,000,000
$281,300,000
Annual Tickets:
650,000
9,433,000
30-Year Ticket Projection:
19,500,000
282,990,000
Cost/30 Years of Tickets*:
$56.41
$2.53
Cost to State/County / 30 Years of Tickets*:
$33.33
$0.99

*Doesn’t account for the significant interest payments on borrowed money.

It looks like the Vikings are demanding a construction subsidy 33X greater than the Hiawatha LRT “boondoggle”.

Additionally, had we not built the LRT, the public would have still been on the hook for other transportation costs, such as additional buses (which cost much more to operate than the LRT) or additional traffic lanes.

Additionally, the LRT allows people who don’t have cars to get to work at the airport, MOA, and downtown, among other locations.

Additionally, the LRT allows people who have cars to avoid paying $150/month to park them downtown.

Additionally, the LRT saves over 8,000 Vikings fans per game the cost driving to and paying game-day parking rates.

Frankly, I think Vikings fans should think twice before comparing their Wilfare demands to the LRT.

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