a response to Dave Dobbs on the austin-bikes list, in which Dave ended with:
There will be no options if this doesn’t pass.
In fact, it will be difficult to defend Capital Metro’s money if this election doesn’t pass. However, it will be even MORE difficult to defend Capital Metro’s money if this election does pass, and the rail service meets my expectations (matching the performance of South Florida’s Tri-Rail, the only other new start rail plan relying exclusively on shuttle buses for passenger distribution). At that point, we will have SHOWN that “rail doesn’t work in Austin”, and the long-term justification for at least 1/4 cent of Capital Metro’s money will be gone.
The position, however, that we will definitely lose the money after an election failure fails to compel on two counts:
- We didn’t permanently lose the money in 2000
- Even if we do ‘lose’ the money, it’s going to be easier to get it back if we don’t have a pathetically poor rail line on the ground SHOWING people that “rail doesn’t work in Austin”.
Keep in mind, if you doubt me that commuter rail won’t work, that:
- Most of the people in 2000 who said they wanted light rail get no rail service from the starter line, and most of that most don’t get rail service in the long-range plan either.
- The people who ARE being delivered rail service are the people who, in 2000, were most against light rail.
- Those lucky few being delivered rail service are precisely the people who have been the LEAST WILLING to ride buses, and yet in order to use this rail line, they’re going to have to ride a bus every single day.
- In order to improve this line in any way, shape, or form, a follow-on election must be held. Does anybody think that’s going to be easy to sell, what with the pro-rail PAC telling everybody that we’re following a “vote on every step” plan so they can evaluate rail’s performance each time before approving more?
At worst, I urge all of you to remember the Great Shoal Creek Debacle Of Aught-Aught. Is anybody willing to argue with me NOW that I was wrong back then? Want to bet against me again?