Saturday, November 19, 2016

$40 million for 131 passengers: Smart?

From the Marin Independent Journal:

[Mike]Arnold believes SMART is an expensive project that will not significantly improve traffic or carry the numbers of passengers SMART expects.

But now that the train is leaving the station, it should not go farther south than San Rafael, he says.

An environmental impact statement for the Larkspur extension projects a ridership of 131 people a day, he says — “$40 million for 131 riders on a concept."

“To an economist like myself, that seems like a really bad buy. It’s a lot of money to be spent on something that is likely to generate more traffic congestion on Second and Third (streets in downtown San Rafael), potentially backing up cars onto Highway 101 during the congested peak hours.

“To the extent that they do that, they’re going to generate far more congestion than any riders that they’re ever going to take to near the Larkspur ferry.”

See Officials scramble to overhaul San Rafael Transit Center to accommodate SMART trains. As usual, the comments to this story are essential reading.

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The soul of the American people

From H.L. Mencken:

“As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

Thanks to Roger Cohen

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