July 27, 2004
More on Houston's light rail boondoggle
Following this earlier post on the economic absurdity of light rail systems, Randal O'Toole, one of the economists over at The Commons, cites the Houston light rail system as one example why cities such as Denver and Austin should reject such systems:
Houston opened a 7.5-mile light-rail line in its downtown on January 1. It has so far caused more than 50 collisions with autos or pedestrians (including a few during testing before January 1). While the transit agency blames bad auto drivers, the accident rate is twenty times the national average for light-rail lines.
Mr. O'Toole notes other economic disasters involving rail systems in other cities, and then aptly summarizes as follows:
The push for rail transit comes from construction companies that seek to soak the taxpayers building it, downtown property owners who hope to enhance the value of their properties, anti-auto environmentalists who view congestion with schadenfreude, and collectivists who think we would be better off in collective transit than private autos. None of these reasons are very appealing so they cloak their goals behind specious claims that rails will reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, something that rail transit has never done.
Posted by Tom at July 27, 2004 6:53 AM |
Well, Metro DID promise to get cars off the street. I just didn't know they planned to do it one car at a time. 50 down. ??? to go!
Posted by: Joni at July 27, 2004 8:33 AM
What a preposterous boondoggle. The Simpsons had this issue pegged accurately years ago ("Monnnnnooorrrraaaaiiillllll!!).
Posted by: TP at July 27, 2004 10:18 AM
My favorite is the huge number of cops policing the rail on weekends to keep the drunks away. Increased manpower costs, or just a diversion of resources from more important tasks?
Posted by: Dylan at July 27, 2004 12:20 PM
I voted against the light rail proposal---and hoped that my original pessimism would prove unfounded. Alas, the actual situation is far worse! The Houston Chronicle may be greatly responsible for pushing this mess. This liberal rag is our enemy. We should do everything not to provide the Chronicle with our money.
Posted by: David Thomson at July 28, 2004 2:10 AM
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