Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On the ballot: Dumb rail projects

Image result for train crash pictures
Montparnasse derailment

From the Antiplanner:

If you think the presidential election is stupid, just get a look at all of the cities that are voting on stupid rail transit projects. Los Angeles wants $120 billion; Seattle $54 billion; San Diego, $7.5 billion; San Francisco, $3.5 billion; San Jose, $3 billion; Atlanta, $2.5 billion, Kansas City, $2 billion; Virginia Beach, $310 million; and Tigard, Oregon, which has the chance to kill a $2 billion project in Portland. 

That’s nearly $200 billion worth of stupidity that has rail contractors salivating.

Voters from these cities should look at the experiences other cities have had with rail. Portland opened a new light-rail project a year ago that was supposed to carry 17,000 people a day in its first year. Actual ridership is more like 11,000

Rail apologist Jarrett Walker says he isn’t surprised as rail lines “are designed to encourage denser and more sustainable development in addition to serving people who are there now,” so initial ridership is “almost always disappointing.” 

C’mon, Jarrett: planners took this into account when they made their projections (or if they didn’t they should have). By the way, the article also says the project came in “under budget,” but it doesn’t say that the budget was almost twice as much as the original projected cost, just one more way transit agencies lie about rail transit...

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