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Light rail boondoggle…

The DC metro transit board (or whatever they call themselves) is considering/has decided to build a light rail system connecting parts of the suburbs to the main lines of the metro. I hope they looked at the numbers carefully… It turns out that light rail rarely does what it is supposed to do, decrease congestion and reduce polution. Proponents also say that it gives added mobility to the poor. The guy over at Coyote blog has made a bet about the current light rail project in Arizona. He thinks that for the cost of building it, you could buy every single core rider a car. Looks like he’d win that bet. The St. Louis Fed released a report that the subsidies used by the st. Louis light rail system would allow them to buy for each “poor” rider a Toyata Prius every 5 years and give them $6000 annually for maintinance. There would still be money left over after that. Enough so that the non poor riders could be given $1045 a year. That’s just the subsidies paid every year by the tax payers, that doesn’t even touch the costs of building the damn thing… You can read all about it here:

http://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/re/2004/c/pages/light_rail.html

You know damn well who is putting the most pressure on councils to build these systems, it’s the manufacturers and builders of the rail systems. I wish there was more covrage of this sort of political back scratching…

Isaac

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