Chronicle mention

Today’s Chronicle has a piece by Mike Clark-Madison which to its credit remembers that there are people (well, A person anyways) willingly to publically oppose the ASG plan on the grounds that it’s a crappy rail system, rather than the Neanderthal view pushed by Skaggs & Company that we need to build more freeways instead.

Unfortunately, the tone of the article basically matches the endorsement at the front, that being that you Must Vote Yes Or Capital Metro Will Die.

This ties into my yet-as-unwritten piece which explains why this very real fear should not make you vote Yes this time around – because the fear that an implemented starter line which doesn’t pull in any new transit customers will be even worse for the long-term future of rail transit in this city.

I’ve not had any trouble making this case in public – with the exception of Scott Polikov, I think the pro-ASG guys treat it with respect and not with the disdain showed in the endorsement section today. Unfortunately, that’s not making enough headway to win the day. The approach currently proposed by the pro-ASG-but-we-know-it-sucks crowd is to pass it and then work to fix it. That falls short in two ways:

  1. As I keep saying, this commuter rail line precludes light rail in the urban Lamar/Guadalupe corridor so the only “fix” you could do would be streetcars, which aren’t enough of a fix to make any difference
  2. Since this plan has been sold as an isolated step, after which all expansions involving rails must come up for additional votes, the poor performance of the initial line (unless I’m wrong and suburbanites fall in love with shuttle buses) will make it impossible to even get #1 off the ground.

The end.



3 thoughts on “Chronicle mention

  1. “Vote yes or Capital Metro will die”
    Now there’s an attractive idea. I can only dream that it would actually come to pass that we all vote no and Capital Metro dies the death it has deserved for years.
    Perhaps with that sinkhole of wasted public money gone someone would come up with an innovate free-market solution to the problem of urban/suburban transport. For that matter, if all these ‘smart growth’ advocates think that rail will solve all our problems I’d really like to see them put their money where their mouths are and start a private rail company and see how it does without massive voter subsidies.

  2. Well Dave, Lets step back to the 1950’s when voter subsidies included lending to people only to buy houses built new in the suburbs and not to redeveloping the urban core like people might have liked. Lets also ask why most rail that was privately profitable in the United States was bought by GM to get them out of the way so they could make everyone drive a car. GM was fined one dollar for the antitrust case. Look, you can freemarket all you want but we got to this sprawl because of subsidies, now lets get ourselves out with some light rail and smart growth, the way it was before WW2.

  3. Dave,
    I’ll back up “Common Sense” and go even farther – we continue to subsidize sprawl in this country (property taxes, mostly, pay for roads around here – whether you drive a little, a lot, or not at all, you pay the same) and effectively outlaw the kind of development we had pre-WWII (through zoning). To claim that people prefer hundreds of miles of medium-density sprawl is to be completely clueless about the gaming currently being done to the market.

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