Monday, October 27, 2008

Looking Down Ballot: Question - Light Rail

The last item on next Tuesday's ballot will be the Light Rail question. I've struggled with this one, caught between the hopeful image of clean rail cars swiftly delivering workers around the city, and the staggering reality of spending a billion dollars for an abbreviated gimmick. As much as I want to embrace the change, I cannot get on board for the light rail extravaganza, and I will be voting against it.

I reach that conclusion regretfully and respectfully. I think the vast majority of the supporters of Light Rail are forward-thinking and well-intentioned. I simply think they are not paying enough attention to the reality of the proposal. In my opinion, the light rail proposal costs too much, accomplishes too little, disproportionately burdens the poor, weakens our city's ability to address the future, and contains way too many unresolved questions.

Costs too much.
Even the proponents of this measure acknowledge that we're looking at spending a billion dollars on the starter line. That's over $2,200 dollars for every man, woman and child in Kansas City. Now, I'm perfectly willing to blow big taxpayer dollars for the right project, but not for a train that doesn't even get me to the airport. And, after we install it, we have to pay operating subsidies every year to keep it running. In the face of an economic slowdown and a tightening of credit, can Kansas City truly afford to saddle itself with another expense that keeps on charging?

Accomplishes too little.
This line won't get anyone to the airport. This line won't get anyone out to South Johnson County. You won't be able to ride it to the stadiums. It won't serve the West Side, or the Northeast. It will probably skip Westport, and it will definitely skip The Legends. It's only a starter line - a truncated version of what we all wish we could have.

While my optimistic friends claim that we have to start somewhere, the truth is that this "start" will have us paying 3/8 of a percent in sales tax for 25 years. Does anybody believe that we will be able to afford to toss in another, probably higher, tax to run it up to the airport in a few years? And then another to run it to the stadiums? No magic genie is going to make our starter line grow into a robust rail system. Instead, we will blow all our money on a starter line that will remain a starter line for at least a quarter century.

Disproportionately burdens the poor. Sales taxes are regressive - those who spend everything they own on goods to survive bear a disproportionate measure of the tax burden. Sales taxes in a city surrounded by other shopping venues are even more regressive. Ironically, those of us blessed with personal transportation will be able to cruise over to a locale with a reduced sales tax rate while those dependent on the rails will be stuck with high taxes.

Weakens our city's ability to address the future.
The billion dollars we are talking about spending on this starter line is money that will not be around to meet future wants, or even our current needs. We have a host of infrastructure needs that aren't as pretty or exciting as a rail car, but they must to be met. If we go "all in" for light rail, we will be taxing ourselves to the hilt and we will not be able to go back and tax ourselves to address our delapidated sewer system, or upgrade our buses, or build a downtown stadium, or any of the dozens of desires and must-haves that we will develop in the coming years. We're kind of like the kid swearing to his parents that if he can just have this bike, he will never, ever ask for anything else again. Smart parents know better.

Too many unresolved questions. What route will the plan take through downtown? Cordish wants the route adjusted away from Grand even though that is the most logical route available, and nobody will tell Kansas City voters what route we will use. (A cynic might be justified in concluding that the planners simply don't want to announce Cordish's victory until after voters are fully on the hook.) Similarly, we don't know what the ridership projections are - yet we're supposed to tax ourselves without knowing them. Even more shockingly, we don't know how much, if any, the federal government will toss into this project. The economic feasibility of the project hinges on the feds coming up with almost half of the money, but there's no promise that we'll get anything remotely like that amount. But, regardless, the tax will start being imposed right away.

A light rail system would be a nice thing to have, and I want one. I don't dispute that it would help some workers get to some jobs, and it would have some economic development benefits along the line. Light rail is a great idea. But so are a lot of things that we cannot afford. We cannot afford to blow a billion bucks on a starter line that will take too few people too few places.

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38 Comments:

Blogger les said...

Though it's not my vote, I think you're right here. One problem with the concept, to me, is that KC doesn't really have any significant dense population sites; I don't know where you'd run a rail line that it would catch a significant number of people, all heading to a single destination. Both the population and, largely, work sites are scattered.

10/27/2008 9:16 AM  
Blogger Keith Sader said...

Didn't we already vote to fund this type of light rail thing in an earlier election, or did we just vote to put it in unfunded?

10/27/2008 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very straight forward explanation. I also would like to see fixed rail in Kansas City, but the most economically equitable system would be streetcars. The new technology streetcars are faster, greener, and cheaper than the old fashioned Light rail.
Take a look at kctribune.com they have listed the reasons that individuals have give for voting NO. IT is pretty interesting that there are a lot of different reasons that reflect the area of the city that a perosn lives in.

10/27/2008 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Actually Dan, I think this could have the potential benefit to the poor in Kansas City in a huge way -- in the not so long term. If this passes, JOCO will strongly consider putting in a commuter line to connect with it. They may or may not do it, but they will at least consider it to ease the congestion on I35. The flip side of this is that for the first time ever, this would make the commute to jobs in the suburbs an option for thousands of people in KCMO's urban core.

On the flip side, our bridges from the Northland are severely overcrowded. Sometime soon, they're going to have to consider yet another bridge across the river into downtown (if they don't, we'll risk losing businesses opening downtown because workers can't get there). This provides easy trasportation and for people who live int he fastest growing part of the city into downtown. If we don't spend the $1 billion on light rail, we'll end up spending $400 million on a new bridge across the river in the next 10 years. We're already looking at a Paseo Bridge replacement project that is in the $250 million range.

People have to quit looking at the just the pure costs of this proposal, and look at some of the long-term SAVED costs from this type of project -- where more volume of traffic is easily added by added trains. Looking only at the 1x cost of this is very short-sighted, and very unlike you actually Dan.

10/27/2008 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The flip side of this is that for the first time ever, this would make the commute to jobs in the suburbs an option for thousands of people in KCMO's urban core

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVERY, Um, you are not to bright are you. The Jo already provides this. Everyone that lives in the urban core and that needs public transit to JoCo knows this. If you were truly interested in public transportation, then you should have known it.

This is my big beef with light rail supporters. They act like those that ACTUALLY USE public transportation don't exist.

Brent, if are more than just talk and really care about the environment, then why don't you join us on the bus.

10/27/2008 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

anonymous,

Must be nice being white collar and working the 8-5 shift. Not everyone is so lucky -- especially many of the people that rely on public transit to get to any job they would potentially have.

Have you tried taking the JO home to KCMO after the mall stores close at 9? Or after a night of bartending or bussing tables at midnight or 2 am? Or how about if you have to work Saturdays and Sundays?
The people who NEED public transit need off-hours transit- -and it's not available for them in JOCO -- not at the hours they need it. Cutting off sevice at 6:30 at night and on weekdays does NOT cut it for them.

Maybe if the people who opposed light rail would actually come up with a workable solution to get people who need transportation to decent jobs instead of anonymously hurling unfounded insults at those who favor light rail, people might take the detractors more seriously.

10/27/2008 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or after a night of bartending or bussing tables at midnight or 2 am?

On what evidence are you saying that the proposed light rail will run until 2am?

I believe most buses in KC stop running well before 2am.

Please post a link to any statement that says light rail would run until 2am.

If you can prove to me that you are correct and light rail would run to 2am, I will change my vote.

10/27/2008 2:17 PM  
Blogger ctorre said...

Regardless of how anyone feels about this issue, let's keep the conversation civil. You don't need to call anyone names.
Brent and Anonymous 2:17 are essentially saying the same thing: public transportation is not now available in off-hours when people need it.

10/27/2008 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Anon 2:17 --

A couple of points here:

1) I have no evidence that light rail will run later than buses -- however, once a rail line is established, it is much less expensive to run (this accounts for maintenence, fuel -- electricity is cheaper than gas - -and labor as one driver can drive a train with multiple cars vs a bus that requires one driver per bus. So the OPPORTUNITY is there for it to run later at the same operating costs.

2) JOCO has not yet even put their route on a ballot -- and rest assured they won't until it has a starter line on the books to connect to. It would be unrealistic to expect that they would expand their routes to later times to support KCMO residents who wouldn't be paying for it. However, as their commuters would benefit greatly from a rail line down the I-35 corridor, it would be reasonable that they would consider that route on their own dime. Since once the line is established, operating a prolonged time schedule is much more economical than it is to add more bus lines.

Sure, nothing is guaranteed, but it's very broken now and needs to be fixed.

10/27/2008 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope you guys know that at one time KC did have streetcars.

http://www.davesrailpix.com/kcmo/htm/kc185.htm

While we're at it, for that matter suburban/commuter trains would be a good idea too.

Also don't complain about the cost, roads don't make any money, except for big oil.

10/27/2008 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the OPPORTUNITY is there for it to run later

The opportunity for buses to run later is there too. And we could start doing that a lot sooner.

it would be reasonable that they would consider that route on their own dime

JoCo wasn't too pleased with bi state. Why should we think they would help out with this. If anything JoCo has shown they mainly want a free lunch.

Sure, nothing is guaranteed

What is guaranteed is that we have a record setting murder rate and the mayor says we have no money for more police.

What is gauranteed is that we have an antiquated sewer system, in need of billions in repairs, that the EPA is threatening to crack down on.

What is gauranteed is that thousands of Kansas Citians currently depend on the bus. St. Louis has proven that light rail sucks money away from buses and can end up hurting the very people it was touted to help.

You can be the one to tell the folks on the east side their bus service was cut back to pay for your light rail.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1002478/metro_plans_severe_cuts_to_bus_and.html

A safe city with clean water is more important than swapping buses for trains. When the mayor says we don't have money for those things, but we do have a billion dollars for light rail, that should piss everyone off.

And to those who say we can do all the above. Well the mayor disagrees and says we don't have the money.


Bret, I have a question for you. How many shootings have occured within a 4 block radius of your house? Maybe when people start catching bullets on your street, light rail will take a back seat to other things.

10/27/2008 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan – it would cost $1 Billion to get to the airport. Just for that segment. And even in cities like DC and NYC, only around 10% use rail for transportation to the airport. Given that there is inexpensive parking at KCI, our numbers would be even less.

I’d agree with you that the starter line isn’t sufficient, but every city that’s built light rail has started with a starter line and built onto it from there. No city can afford (or get federal funding for) a comprehensive system built all at once.

With regards to questions – you sound like the anti light rail campaign. The bottom line is that the feds are going to authorize a transportation bill next year, and if we don’t have a popular vote in favor of light rail, we can’t get federal funding. The feds require all kinds of analysis, and that’s why the ridership levels, etc. aren’t complete. And no plan is going to be perfect. If we wait for perfection, we’ll be waiting long past when I’m dead. If we don’t get started on this soon, it’s just going to get more and more expensive.

This city is going to get left in the dust. With all our investments in downtown, we need to keep the momentum.

10/27/2008 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Anon.

Ask yourself why we don't have money for things like police, additional bus service and sewers. The reason we don't have the money for these things is because the city has had a declining population and tax base for nearly 4 decades. At some point, the city is going to have to invest in things that will make people WANT to live here. Make people see KC as a place that is more than living decades long past. They need to provide transportation to jobs for people who need that transportation so that the poor can have access to jobs too, bring that money back to their neighborhoods, and build the economy back up in those neighborhoods. But providing no services, providing no reason for anyone to move to KC, is going to create the same situation that has led us down our current road -- one that has left a very poor tax base that cannot afford to sustain itself with basic services.

Now we continue down that same road that has failed miserably for the past 4 decades -- or we can do something that will stimulate development, provide transportation, initiate change, build business and provide a reason to believe that Kansas City is building toward the future. Not doing so will provide the same results as we've seen in the past 40 years...and as a city, we can't afford to do that any longer.

And trust me, I'll get no personal benefit from the current light rail plan based on my home location (and trust me, I've seen enough bullets lately that there is no reason to cast stones and insults -- again) but I think the greater good far outweighs the costs.

The alternative is that we can continue to pay for roads and infastructure so people can live in further out in the suburbs and drive in to work every day and take their money back to their suburban neighborhoods -- and we can let the poor in urban KC pay for those roads and crumbling infastructure. That hasn't worked for 40 years...so no reason to believe it will now.

10/27/2008 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At some point, the city is going to have to invest in things that will make people WANT to live here.

I have a ton of friends that live in JoCo. You know why they don't live in KC? They say the schools are too bad and their is too much crime. I have never heard a Johnson County resident say that lack of light rail was why they moved away from KC.

I personally know a TON of families that moved out because of the schools. I have yet to meet one person that moved out because of light rail.

Tell me the truth. Have you ever met a person that moved out of KC because there was no light rail?

Tell me the truth again, have you ever met someone that would not live in KC because of the crime rate?

One more time, have you ever know anyone to have left KC because of our school system?

and we can let the poor in urban KC pay for those roads and crumbling infastructure.

Light rail is not going to fix our crumbling infrastructure one bit. It is not going to stop one sewer backup, it is not going to fix one broken sidewalk.

All it will do is make a few people feel good about themselves.

10/27/2008 9:42 PM  
Anonymous JB Nutter said...

Dan, the money will be left under the tree as agreed.

10/27/2008 10:50 PM  
Blogger anonymous said...

Dan,

Too bad you've turned into a Republican. Too bad you have no vision for the future. Too bad you've let one bad decision--supporting Funkhouser--make you so gun shy.

Without light rail, Kansas City will never be any more than the cow town it would like to escape. You are dead wrong about expansion, dead wrong about usage, and dead wrong that we can afford not to have light rail. Name one metropolitan area where light rail has been a failure.

Buses are fine; but light rail can move more people more efficiently, and more cleanly than buses. It also,if run correctly, can run longer hours with fewer employees.

A vote against light rail is a vote against Kansas City's future.

10/28/2008 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Name one metropolitan area where light rail has been a failure.

St. Louis

St. Louis MetroLink Light Rail Will Be $19 Million in the Red Next Year

St. Louis county MetroBus routes to be cut for lack of funds

This will most likely result in the elimination of "up to 28 of the 60 existing MetroBus routes."

10/28/2008 12:47 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Funny to see how this discussion gets heated even though the original post was especially respectful. I don't question the motives of the light rail proponents - I admire their motives, but they haven't proven their case.

Brent argues a light rail system that does not go to the suburbs will somehow open the suburbs to urban core workers. How, exactly, will that work, if the rails stop at 63rd and Prospect? The hypothetical JoCo line is only hypothetical, and, even if you have faith that it will happen, it is decades away.

Brent also argues that the system will allow us to avoid building bridges and highways, but even the most optimistic predictions of ridership keep it under 1% of commuters. The argument sounds nice, but it is simply not accurate.

Brent's argument that light rail will expand the hours of transit service is also flawed. First, the whole plan hinges on intermodal connections - we don't have the density to place the rails close enough to significant percentages of our population, so we are depending on buses to deliver people from their doors to the rails. Thus, if we need to run the buses all night to support the rails, then why don't we just run the buses all night, and save ourselves the billion dollars?

Again, I make these points with the utmost respect for Brent and other supporters of light rail. A 3/8ths percent hike in sales tax is an awful lot of money, though, and we would be sticking ourselves with it for 25 years, foreclosing the option of expanding the line or taking on other good projects.

10/28/2008 6:21 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

So then Dan, what do you recommend? Right now we don't have the mass of population to support the rail (and why would we, because there is no reason for people to congregate under certain routes). We don't have enough people who live in the city to pay taxes to support our crumbling imfastructure. The financially unstable folks in the urban core don't have access to night/weekend jobs in the suburbs where they could earn money and bring it back to their neighborhoods. Gas prices will continue to go up following the election and take up a larger share of dollars for those people who do have automobiles.

Opponents of light rail say that it won't work, they say it is a waste of funds, but they aren't offering alternatives to solve the problems. THE STATUS QUO ISN"T WORKING.

Even if the end result of better transit is decades away, at least we're making progress toward that goal. Right now, there is no progress being made. And no solutions on the table. Just seems like if rail has spurred development along the routes and improved transit ridership in every other similar sized city in the US, it seems odd to think that that wouldn't happen here.

And it is only a start. However, we do have to start somewhere -- and it might as well be right through our central business corridor.

Doing nothing is not working...

10/28/2008 8:59 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I want light rail to happen, a starter line makes sense, and the starter line that is proposed makes sense.

However, I'm voting against the light rail ballot for two reasons, hoping that we will get a chance to vote on a better proposal next year.

#1 - there isn't enough information available about the proposal for voters to make an informed decision. Without ridership and other data, it's simply bad public policy to ask for a vote.

#2 - the technology they want to use is old and the approach is too expensive. They're building infrastructure for a larger, heavier rail system that is not appropriate. We can shave $10- $15M or more per mile off the costs by using 21st centuiry technology. The light rail citizens committee was a sham -- the whole public outreach effort was poorly conceived and managed. The proposal needs to be rewritten and reflect 21st century technology and know-how.

And where is the pro-rail campaign? The yardsigns are ugly and poorly designed, and the one mailer I received was very poorly designed and worded. Funk and the other guy got their heads handed to themselves last week in KC Week In Review.

Is Pat Gray intentionally driving this issue to failure to pick up another paycheck next year?

Unfortunately, with a high turnout this initiative may yet pass, however poorly managed and designed it is.

10/28/2008 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Anon 9:52,

One other point. You mention that crime and schools are why most people move out. I agree.

But you know what would help with crime? More people. More people to pay taxes. More people to be out walking the streets (crime doesn't usually occur on well-traveled streets).

meanwhile, light rail has a proven track record at building density along its routes. More density = more street traffic = more tax revenue = more money to go into our police force.

10/28/2008 12:26 PM  
Blogger KC Sponge said...

I voted for Chastain's plan - sure that it would not pass - for the same reason I will vote for this one. Stagnation is the worst place to be when you need growth; we need to say as a group that we are ready to grow as a city, that we are looking to the future, that we want young, eager people to come to our city while the fleeting continues away - because of the crime rate, school situation, and racism. Light rail provides glamour as well as function - two factors of thriving cities. People are a more important commodity than even infrastructure - we need incentives to live here as much as these corporations need tax breaks. I don't need the starter line to be close to my front door, but the laying of the rail means one day it will be close enough, or I will find a reason to spend more time where I don't today. It's not a solution, but it's a step in the right direction. It's not perfect, and I hold a lot of the same reservations you do, but I don't trust that waiting around for the right answer will ever get us any further than we are today.

10/28/2008 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without light rail, Kansas City will never be any more than the cow town it would like to escape.

I don't understand why that is so a favorite expression. I hear it on each vote.

If we don't a have a rolling roof, we will be a cow town

If we don't a have a downtown arena , we will be a cow town

If we don't save liberty memorial we will be a cow town

For a town that is so big on barbecue, you people really hate cows.

I think we need a new Godwins law. The first group to say "cow town", looses.

10/28/2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ KC Sponge,

Take a look at St. Louis. Light rail has not helped their schools or cut their crime rate.

As a matter fact, St. Louis is now cutting bus service because of light rail cost over runs.

What are the odds bus service in KC will be cut too?

10/28/2008 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

What are the odds bus service in KC will be cut too?

Not very good -- atleast in the short term. You may remember that back in April we passed a separate 3/8 cent sales tax that is to be dedicated for buses for the next 15 years. The light rail tax would be kept separate. If there was intermingling of the money, there would certainly be much reason for complaint -- but they were distinctly different taxes. This also doesn't include additional Federal monies that have come in specifically for BRT projects.

In fact, it should dramatically improve bus service. Currently, a large number of the bus routes from the east side zig zag back and forth and end up downtown. With light rail, the routes could (and should) be altered to feed directly into the rail line that goes downtown. This would be a much more efficient use of the bus system than the current 'every route leads downtown it seems' method. The more efficient bus routes would IMPROVE bus transit.

But it's a different situation than St. Louis where they are all under the same tax source.

10/28/2008 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not very good -- atleast in the short term.

Only a portion (very large portion that is) comes from dedicated taxes. Over 51,000 people ride a day @ $1.25 a ticket. That adds up to over 18 million a year. Correct me if I am wrong, but that money is not bound by law to go for buses only.

Currently, a large number of the bus routes from the east side zig zag back and forth and end up downtown. With light rail, the routes could (and should) be altered to feed directly into the rail line that goes downtown

Many current bus routes already feed into the Troost and Max routes, which run straight to downtown.

Brent, I am curious, have you ever even ridden the bus?

10/28/2008 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Certainly wouldn't make sense for them to cancel bus routes by diverting the money made from those bus routes toward something else now would it? If that is revenue from bus routes, and they divert the money and close the routes, then they no longer have the money. Seems like that would be a near impossibility.

Whether or not I ride the bus makes little difference in where the taxes come from to pay for them or whether the majority of the routes end up downtown or not. Only a small handful (35, 39, 163) operate as feeders...

10/28/2008 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom line is there are plenty of funds that could be legally diverted away from current bus routes.

St. Louis did it and so have many other cities.

Whether or not I ride the bus makes little difference

What is the saying? “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk”.

10/28/2008 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

At this point, you say there is plenty of funding that can be diverted, but you can't name it. The reality is that dedicated sales tax and fares make up about 85% of the total funding for the buses. The rest comes from state/federal money that could be diverted to other things at any time regardless of whether or not we did light rail.

Talking the talk vs walking the walk is just crazy talk. Does not living on the East side preclude someone from being concerned about the higher murder count on the east side? Does not having children preclude someone from being concerned about the public schools? I certainly hope not.

We're all in this together -- and the sooner everyone starts thinking about the city as a whole, and not just their own individual needs, the better off we'll all be. I prefer to look at it that way -- regardless of if I directly benefit from the development. Because KC improving its current situation is a win for all of us long term...

10/28/2008 11:51 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Sponge and Brent -

Thank you for coming here and trying to help me see the light, but I'm still coming up a little short on the rationale. (By the way, Brent, my disagreement with you has absolutely nothing to do with whether you ride the bus - that's a silly argument.)

You both seem to recognize the deep flaws in the proposal, but are supporting it anyhow because you have a sense of urgency, and a feeling that something must be done. As Brent all-caps, THE STATUS QUO ISN'T WORKING.

I truly appreciate that insight, but that does not mean that we should vote for a plan, any plan, that blows a billion bucks on a starter line that takes too few people too few places. I'm happy to discuss ways to change the status quo, but I don't fall in with the "Do Something, Anything, Whatever the Cost" crowd. If that's all you want, let's spend half that much money to buy and run a fleet of taxis to drive poor people wherever they want to go. Are there flaws in my plan? Sure, but THE STATUS QUO ISN'T WORKING.

I'm simply not going to support something wasteful just to make myself think I'm doing something useful. Until someone can tell me how many riders this will have, how much it will reduce traffic (unless Brent has dropped that weak argument), when we will see it expand to the suburbs that Brent sees as the great economic opportunity (but isn't in the current plan, and won't be for a quarter century), and how we're going to jump from a starter line to a robust public transit system and still afford to live here - I'm voting no.

I admire your motives, but this plan does not deserve your support.

10/29/2008 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Dan,

Out of curiosity, do you think the idea of rail is a good one, or a bad one, long term? Because if you think it is a bad idea long-term, there is no sense having a discussion (BTW, most of my comments were directed at another commenter here).

I absolutely believe in rail long-term. I think the success in other places makes it very appealing. And I don't buy that KC doesn't have the population density to support it -- it's kind of a chicken vs the egg arguement.

Would I prefer a completely regional line? Absolutely. I personally think it is crucial for our city. So then we have to ask, what's the best way to get there? Wait 25 years for JOCO voters to get on board? Propose a $20 billion plan so we can run it everywhere at once? No way that would ever go through.

So it seems like in a world where we have to start somewhere - -show some successes so our neighbors to the west will get on board. And if we have to start somewhere, why not start it by running the line not only through the central business corridor (that reaches the most jobs), but also runs through some of the least fortunate areas in the city and into the Northland.

Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But if rail every happens in the city, one of the lines will inevitably run in the areas on the current route. So what good are we doing by delaying it?

10/29/2008 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point, you say there is plenty of funding that can be diverted, but you can't name it.

You named it yourself when you said 15% of the funding does not come from directed taxing.

Funds gathered from fairs on popular routes such as Troost and the max, could be diverted to light rail. While less popular routes that bring in little money, could be cut.

This is what happened in St. Louis.

And it is not a silly argument to ask if you have ever used public transportation. If you are asking others to leave their car and use public transit, then you should lead by example.

Otherwise you are like Sarah Palin talking foreign policy even though she rarely traveled outside the country.

Maybe you can see a bus from where you live.

(ok, bad joke).

10/29/2008 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're proposing fairs on Troost now? That sounds like fun! Great idea!

But won't the fairs interfere with the bus traffic?

10/29/2008 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

The irony is that those 15% of funds that come from state/federal sources are likely to be reallocated anyway. There is a really good chance that we'll be looking at both a democratic president and congress for the next four years. It would be very likely that they will begin to divert public transit dollars to more environmentally friendly forms of transit (this would include rail). So there is a very good chance we will lose those dollars regardless. Rail would give a chance to get those dollars back.

I'm calling for the city to provide better public transit. I've never once called for anyone to go out of their way to use it. In fact, I wouldn't expect anyone to sacrifice to use it. The way to get people to use public transit is by making it more convenient and affordable than the alternatives. Which means more, better forms of transit. More frequency of routes. Avoiding traffic and less parking (which would mean more density by getting rid of all of the surface parking lots in the city).

10/29/2008 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is my solution.
Three months after the debut of 36 Commuter Cash — a program that pays commuters three bucks a day not to drive alone on the congested Boulder Turnpike — the organization has attracted 245 participants.

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2008/oct/23/getting-bucks-take-bus/

10/29/2008 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god Dan's opinion isn't worth the shit he is made out of.

10/29/2008 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god Dan's opinion isn't worth the shit he is made out of.

that is just not cool.

10/29/2008 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Public safety is our No. 1 priority, but we have no money,” said Councilwoman Deb Hermann, finance committee chairwoman. “It may be tough to just hold steady on what was funded this year. We hope the economy will recover quickly, but no one is saying that.”

But at least we can afford light rail. Do trains stop bullets?

10/30/2008 8:35 AM  

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