Light rail: Always cost overruns, underused

Recently, The Citizen published a letter from state Representative Virgil Fludd regarding Georgia’s transportation issues. Mr. Fludd took the opportunity to propose yet another expensive boondoggle that only government can suggest.

Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results. Clearly, anyone who has studied the history of light rail understands this is insanity.

Every metro area in the U.S. that has built one of these monstrosities has experienced massive cost overruns and ridership significantly below projections.

Here are some basic facts; Americans love their cars and they dislike mass transit, therefore the vast majority would rather sit in traffic and complain about it than to take a bus or train even if it were convenient to do so.

Unlike Ray Kinsella, we can build it but they won’t come. Look at the cities with light rail systems; all of them have traffic that is as bad or worse than Atlanta.

Bad traffic is a fact of life in a major metro area, so you either learn to accept it or you adapt your work schedule around it or you’ll stress out.

Yet, Mr. Fludd said, “All Georgia had to do was raise $15 million to receive our fair share of the federal money.”

This in the midst of tough economic times. Where should we take that $15 million from — our teachers yet again?

The only folks who think of $15 million as pocket change are billionaires and folks who spend other people’s money (like politicians).

Why is it that state politicians always look to the feds to fund their pet projects? Government is a highly inefficient way to accomplish nearly anything. If the idea of light rail is so great, why aren’t private companies proposing to build and operate these systems?

Mr. Fludd goes on to complain that the Republicans only know how to say “No.” Well, maybe that’s because they don’t agree with any of Mr. Fludd’s ideas. Has he said “Yes” to any of their ideas?

It’s time to stop with the partisan bickering, and wake up to the reality that government cannot solve every problem. You can’t build enough roads, and folks don’t like mass transit. Government can’t “fix” that.

It’s time for politicians to play it straight with the people and tell them that government is not always the answer.

Mike Taylor

Peachtree City, Ga.

conditon55
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On the contrary...

>>>
Here are some basic facts; Americans love their cars and they dislike mass transit, therefore the vast majority would rather sit in traffic and complain about it than to take a bus or train even if it were convenient to do so.
<<<<
Americans do love their cars. If I commute using transit - I do not need to sell my car. I can ride transit and keep my car.

>>>>
Unlike Ray Kinsella, we can build it but they won’t come. Look at the cities with light rail systems; all of them have traffic that is as bad or worse than Atlanta.
<<<<<
This is dinosaur thinking. Major urban areas with well planned and well executed transit systems are universally well used. As a rule wolrd class cities tend to have functional, well managed transit system. It is just that there arn't many good examples near Atlanta. But they exist.

>>>>>
Bad traffic is a fact of life in a major metro area, so you either learn to accept it or you adapt your work schedule around it or you’ll stress out
<<<<<
Only because of lack of effectively planned and executed transit systems.

The USA has a long history of effective mass transit. Before 1940 every medium to large size town in the US had working street cars systems. They have all been dismantled. Atlanta had an extensive network of street car lines.

Marta has thousands of riders per day.

To say people do not want or use transit does not make sense.

Also - you can have transit in small to mid sized towns. It was once as common as the corner drug store....

The Wedge
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On the contrary to the contrary

Are you going to use MARTA as a case study in effective use of monies vis a vis ridership? Are you going to cite the CTRAN as well? The point of the letter is that this is being done all over the place and it is costly and ineffective compared to the number of ridership. It only makes sense when moving people from a high density residential area to a high density commercial area.
For Atlanta it would be light rail going to the heart of downtown. It wouldn't help me at all. Why in the world would I want to drive to a near light rail station (20 miles or so) get on a train. get off at a stop and catch the bus to get within two blocks of where I work? Why would I take a 50 minute normal commute to get a 90 - 120 minute commute with light rail/bussing.
"Also - you can have transit in small to mid sized towns. It was once as common as the corner drug store...." as cars became more prevalent throughout the 20th century, this mode of transportation died. Also we have gone from an agrarian society to one of commerce and service. We don't live where we work.

Bonkers
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Mass Transit

I would like to drive to a parking lot, say on Huddleston somewhere, and get on a train that goes to downtown Atlanta and other places. Probably the time would compete with busy-time driving.
Would save up to five gallons of gas the two ways.
Five gallons = about $15, plus wear and tear.

Ticket prices in bulk would have to cover the cost of running the thing however---which Atlanta doesn't do. Round trip in bulk, maybe 6-7 bucks.

Road taxes would then be reduced, and pollution helped.

As to riding crime into PTC, forget it, can't escape very fast on a train.
Some might live here however.

The Wedge
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Real life example of train commuting

I took the train just on Wednesday from Newark, NJ airport to Penn Station in NYC and back. The round trip cost was $30.00 and it is of a lesser distance than PTC to midtown ATL. And that would be okay for those going to downtown for a special purpose. It does nothing for the average business person that works more than 1/2 a mile from the nearest train station

Bonkers
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Wedge

I understand you now.

You are in favor of doubling the number of cars with one person commuting when our population is a half billion!
Or will be use "Jetsons" hover craft then and park in mid air?

AtHomeGym
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Bonko & Wedge

Bonkie, Bonkie, where did Wedge say anything about doubling the nr of one person ommuters? If you worked at it, you could just twist other posts around to exactly what you may or may not believe TODAY! Tomorrow is another story. BTW, you could probably pick up your Impala at the Impound lot anytime now. And Isn't 1040pm a little past your bedtime?

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