I don't know what it is about rail transit advocates, but for some reason they seem to believe that capital costs of rail construction are somehow irrelevant. There is no other way to explain this (thanks to a reader for the link):
A new rail station that opens next Wednesday in Ramsey could give the Northstar Commuter line the ridership boost it needs for an eventual extension to St. Cloud, an Anoka County official says.
But even as a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday heralded the arrival of the seventh station along the line, others have questioned the cost: about $13 million, or an average of roughly $130,000 for each of the 100 new daily round-trip riders the station is expected to attract. Some also wonder whether the new station will merely siphon riders from the two stations on either side of it.
But apparently the rail authority thinks the skeptics are being too pessimistic. They expect it to be MUCH better:
Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look, a former Ramsey council member, predicted the new station will exceed the 100 daily round trips that Northstar officials hope it will generate. With a bus line being discontinued because of the station's arrival, and a 230-unit apartment complex going up near the site, Look said the station could increase Northstar's overall ridership by 25 percent. Based on current figures, that would be a rise of about 600 rides per day.
So the station's greatest supporter is optimistically expecting 300 daily round trip riders per day. That makes the cost of the station per round-trip daily rider "only" $43,000. Or approximately enough to buy every rider a new Prius and still save about half the costs.