By Dianne Lee
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Open to the public since June 2014, the Green Line has been running a little over a year. However, it is already creating controversy in the Twin Cities over ridership and costs.
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Even before it opened, the train faced three gubernatorial vetoes and two lawsuits. Recently, Minnesota state Representative Debra Kiel said she was “not a big fan of light rail.” Recounting an anecdote about how the Green Line always seems empty, Kiel said there’s a need for a conversation about whether the trains are being used effectively.
The debate over the Green Line, and light-rail trains in general, seems to be about numbers. Those opposed to the train cite high costs, nearly $1 billion in construction alone for the Green Line. Supporters cite increasing ridership that reached 5.6 million trips on the Green Line this year, up 14 percent from last year.
The biggest advocates for the Green Line are the riders themselves.