Rail corridor between Raleigh and DC? Done!
Charlotte and Atlanta? Done!
Roanoke and Durham. Done!
I admit that I’m flummoxed by this fixation. But let’s take a look:
The idea is based on two angles:
- If we can move more people from here to there on a train, we’ll decrease the amount of fossil fuel burned.
- It creates jobs.
How much of this is true? And to the extent that it IS true, what price are people willing to pay?
Consider, for example, that you are in charge of a light rail project and are trying to meet the targets your management or team has identified. I have to think that cost HAS to be part of the equation.
At what point do you break that down and consider how much you are going to subsidize the project on a per rider basis.
For example, would you build a system that delivered people from the airport to downtown if it only cost $0.50 a rider per year? I think so; I think I would.
But what if that cost went from $0.50 all the way to $35.00? Would you build that system knowing the cost was way WAY out of whack on what the public would be willing to pay?
For example, consider this:
…Sound Transit will wind up $117 million below its overall budget of $2.44 billion for the whole Seattle-Tukwila route…
I guess there’s good news in that the project is under budget, but the project cost $2.44 ba-ba-billion! That means if 1 million people ride the thing, each ticket is $2,440.
Is there a point at which even the most dyed in the wool Leftist would puke at the cost?