The folly of Light Rail

One of the favorite hobby-horses of the liberals is public transportation.

Lately, Light Rail has been getting a big push as the next big thing since sliced bread.

Portland, Oregon got all kitted out starting in the 1980's and is sort of a poster child for Light Rail what with planners from other cities visiting to see just how much of a 'good thing' it is. It is a pity that they don't scratch the surface and look at some of the pesky statistics -- inconvenient truths indeed! From Moonbattery:

Emulating Portland's Mistakes
One distinguishing feature of liberals is that instead of learning from other's mistakes, they emulate them. The most obvious example is socialism, which has been tried many times with invariably disastrous consequences, but which never goes out of style among moonbats. A more specific example is light rail transit. Tom Barrett, the Mayor of Milwaukee, actually traveled to Portland, Oregon recently so as to study that city's financially disastrous light rail system, the better to impose a similar debacle on his own town.

Van Helsing continues with a heads up from someone who actually lives in Portland:

Randal O'Toole has spent most of his life in Portland. As he reports:
Portland's public transit has done nothing to relieve the region's growing congestion; its high cost has sparked a taxpayer revolt; the developments along the rail lines were themselves heavily subsidized; and those subsidies led a crafty cabal of ex-politicians and developers to milk the system for their own gain.
Portland residents have repeatedly voted against the light rail boondoggle, but bureaucrats always find a way to expropriate the cash they covet. Their friends are getting rich on rail construction contracts and developer subsidies:
Meanwhile, budgets for schools, fire, police, and public health have all been cut, as property taxes that would normally go to those services have been diverted to subsidies for rail transit and high-density developments.
Since Portland began building rail transit in the 1980s, public transit's share of commuter traffic has actually declined from 9.8% to 7.6%, because bus service has been reduced to help pay for the poky and largely useless light rail.

Supposedly the light rail has spurred high-density development. This development was actually impelled by over $1.5 billion in handouts at taxpayers' expense. The term for perverting the market by coercively financing projects that only bureaucrats want is socialism.

Seattle recently got out from underneath a monorail project that hoovered over $120 million from King County taxpayers wallets with zero to show for it.

King County is also building a light rail system to connect downtown to the airport -- a possibly good idea but who leaves for a flight directly from work? Getting from one's home to the downtown terminal takes longer via public transportation than getting from one's home directly to the airport using one of the cheap Shuttle Express busses.

I tried public transportation when I lived in Seattle and gave it a good eight or nine months before I threw in the towel and started driving again. I lived about two blocks from a bus stop that went directly to a stop three blocks from my work. Perfect. There was an express bus that left in the mornings and evenings that suited my schedule. My problem was that even though this was the express bus, with limited stops and fast service, it still took me 90 minutes to travel the route. That was three hours/day spent riding a bus.

Driving the same route took about twenty minutes so I could save two hours per day. This was so much worth the seven dollars it cost me for daily parking. Public transportation is a great idea but it needs to be small and nimble. Smaller busses (forty riders), electric or diesel/hybrid and just have a gazillion of them out there. Much cheaper than light rail and infinitely more flexible.

January 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Environment and Climate
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Depot
Ice Age Now
Jennifer Marohasy
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Watts Up With That?

Science and Medicine
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Next Big Future

Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF

The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
User Friendly
What The Duck

Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?

Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog

Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
The Online Photographer

A Western Heart
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Power Line
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Weasel Zippers

Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 18, 2007 9:11 PM.

Why am I not surprised - John Edwards was the previous entry in this blog.

Prayers for Jamaica - Hurricane Dean is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives


OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.9