Next year Minneapolis is hosting the Super Bowl. This was one of the perks of sinking hundreds of millions of public dollars into a stadium for a team that only plays a handful of games each year. At least they’ve re-opened US Bank stadium to people who want to run loops around the concourse, giving it some other purpose.
I could get into a long tirade on the horrendous waste of publicly funded stadiums, but the point that I wanted to talk about today is how an event like the Super Bowl disrupts life for people who live there. In particular, public transit. Our public transit organization has agreed to suspend operations of our rail lines around the stadium on game day so that Super Bowl ticket holders can get a special ride, to and from, Mall of America to the game.
That means that anyone south of downtown Minneapolis, who is a resident and is not going to the game, must use replacement bus lines. Thankfully, it’s a Sunday and probably only inconveniencing a handful of people compared to a weekday, but it’s the principle. People who live here are treated like second class citizens because we want to kowtow to the almighty NFL and it’s billionaire owners.
I realize that we want to show off our cool rail lines, and we want to encourage rich people to build businesses here, but really, do we think that a single week of football festivities will really be a 400 millions dollar economic boon to the area? Our transit driver’s union is threatening a strike during this time, which I think is a brilliant move for them. At least they might come out of this with some better job benefits and a decent wage increase. Maybe if that’s the economic boon that we end up with it’s not as bad as it could be. At least a group of hard working and underpaid people may come out a bit ahead in the end.