Department of Nutty-ideas-
Ideas "whose time has come" (and gone) Section
|(FIXED RAIL FOR COMMUTERS)|
See: "It's enough to make one ponder exactly how expensive light rail would have to be before local governments consider other alternatives." HERE
|"There are just two problems
with mass transit. Nobody uses it, and it costs like hell. Only
4% of Americans take public transportation to work. Even in cities they
don't do it. Less than 25% of commuters in the New York metropolitan area
use public transportation. Elsewhere it's far less--9.5% in San Francisco-Oakland-San
Jose, 1.8% in Dallas-Fort Worth. As for total travel in urban parts of
America--all the comings and goings for work, school, shopping, etc.--1.7
% of those trips are made on mass transit.
"Then there is the cost, which is--obviously--$52 billion. Less obviously,
there's all the money spent locally keeping local mass transit systems
operating. The Heritage Foundation says, "There isn't a single light rail
transit system in America in which fares paid by the passengers cover the
cost of their own rides." Heritage cites the Minneapolis "Hiawatha" light
rail line, soon to be completed with $107 million from the transportation
bill. Heritage estimates that the total expense for each ride on the Hiawatha
will be $19. Commuting to work will cost $8,550 a year. If the commuter
is earning minimum wage, this leaves about $1,000 a year for food, shelter
and clothing. Or, if the city picks up the tab, it could have leased a
BMW X-5 SUV for the commuter at about the same price."
|There's NO "silver bullet" for curing traffic congestion.|
|Busway vs. Rail
Capacity: Separating Myth from Fact
Supporters of rail regularly argue that it has higher capacity than buses.
According to Reason Adjunct Scholar Peter Samuel, this rhetoric is based
on false comparisons and distorted data. In this Policy Update, Samuel
separates fact from fiction in the capacity debate and demonstrates that
when it comes to performance, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and service
to riders, high-performance bus systems beat rail hands down. See it at:
|"I stood by a VTA (Valley Transit Authority) line in San Jose recently. I could also see highway 101 which is a six lane expressway that runs north and south between south of San Jose and San Francisco. I could easily count the light rail cars as they passed - at a rate of one three-car unit every 15 minutes with a total of 20 - 30 passengers. During that 15 minutes, more cars went past me on a single lane of the interstate than I could count. Even at one person per car, the single lane of 101 carried THOUSANDS more people than the light rail. ... Based on the San Jose example, a single light rail line is worth less than 1/6 of a lane of interstate in actually moving people ... The justification for light rail given by the Hood Administration (and Congressman John Mica) is, purely and simply, fraudulent." -- Devon Price|
IN THE END, "LIGHT" RAIL ALWAYS MEANS "HEAVY" TAXES.
|- - Quote of the Year - -
"I wish we had never started the whole thing,"
said a wistful Los Angeles Mayor Riordan, reflecting on life with light
One Orange County required a grand jury to dig out the truth...
The introduction to the Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 162: "FALSE DREAMS AND BROKEN PROMISES: THE WASTEFUL FEDERAL INVESTMENT IN URBAN MASS TRANSIT" is at http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-162.html.
The Reason Foundation policy reports wherein Reason Shatters
the Transit Myths are located at http://www.rppi.org/transitmyths.html.
Reason interviewed car culture defender and urban-planning scholar Peter Gordon at http://www.reason.com/9806/fe.gordon.html
See the Reason Public Policy Institute study, "Unearthing
the True Cost of Public Transit" at http://www.reason.org/ps243central.html
Keep up to date with Wendell Cox's The Public Purpose .
For one of the Ax the Tax! pages about light rail, click here.
For more insight and commentary
on light rails' "track record," click
"A (Compulsive-Obsessive's) Desire Named Streetcar": See "The Quest for the Holy Rail"
For the transcript of John Stossel's light-rail-bashing "Give Me a Break!"
segment on ABC-TV's 20/20, click
Questioning the Basic Idea of Urban Planning by Government Bodies:
"Planning and the Two Coordinations, With Illustration in Urban Transit"
by Daniel B. Klein
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