"Thrive MSP 2040": Urban Planning Overreach

Turning the Twin Cities Into Sim City - The Metropolitan Council's plans include making sure there is a proper mix of races and incomes in each suburb.


Here in the Twin Cities, a handful of unelected bureaucrats are gearing up to impose their vision of the ideal society on the nearly three million residents of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region. According to the urban planners on the city's Metropolitan Council, far too many people live in single family homes, have neighbors with similar incomes and skin color, and contribute to climate change by driving to work. They intend to change all that with a 30-year master plan called "Thrive MSP 2040." The Met Council, as it's known here, was founded in the 1960s to coordinate regional infrastructure—in essence, to make sure that sewers and roads meet up. Over the years, its power to allocate funds and control planning has expanded. Now, under Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton—who appointed all 17 current members—the council intends to play Sim City with residents' lives.


The Thrive plan also will pour public funds into mass transit while virtually ignoring congestion relief on highways. The Twin Cities region is projected to have just $52 million available annually from 2014 to 2022 for highway congestion relief, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Yet the Met Council intends to spend at least $1.7 billion on a single light-rail project, with more rail transit to follow. The Thrive plan's most radical element may be to evaluate all future development policies through the "lens" of climate change. Over time, this could give the council a license to dramatically remake the entire metro area. One former member of the Met Council told me that in the not-so-distant future local governments seeking approval of a new sewer line may first have to meet onerous "carbon footprint" dictates. The council apparently views herding people into dense urban conclaves and restricting their use of cars as the key to reducing greenhouse gases. Yet an exhaustive report by McKinsey & Co. in 2007 found that neither driving less nor densification is necessary and that technological advances, such as fuel-economy improvements, can achieve sufficient reductions.
Comment: THRIVE MSP 2040 Official Site

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