Everyone on this forum seems to have a good faith interest in the success of transit in the region, albeit with oftentimes wildly divergent ideas of how to best go about it. That said, the above statement is very true. In my view, at this cost the project has slipped passed the threshold whereby it makes any sense.If they can't get the cost down, I think we do need to reopen discussion of routing through Uptown somehow.
The SWLRT alignment was chosen because it was considered the most cost-effective option, correct? Using pre-existing right-of-way and avoiding tunneling were, as I recall, two of the most decisive factors in favor of the current route. But the cost argument has now gone away. $2 billion for an essentially suburban commuter system is not a wise investment.
Incredible inertia exists with this project. Sunk costs, political commitments, years of design, hard work, and painful compromise. But it's basic premise is flawed: expensive rail transit like this should connect dense walkable nodes near the core, not attempt to displace single-occupancy vehicle commuters from the freeway. The latter is a lost battle. The former makes a lot of sense. Uptown-Downtown; the routes of the 5 or the 21 - these are appropriate corridors for rail of this cost, complexity, and utility. Eden Prairie is not, nor will it likely ever be, a walkable place with a land use pattern supportive of transit. That may be a politically unpalatable choice, because it is Minneapolis-centric. But if we're trying to build a viable rail transit network, it's really the best choice.