No Light Rail in Vancouver!
Cooking the Books
The Salt Lake County Council of Governments recently agreed to spend $2.5 billion on rail transit. But a state auditor found that the analysis used to justify the decision contained some errors that, if corrected, would have indicated the money should be spent on roads instead.
The analysis ranked commuter rail as the second-
“So what?” say city and county leaders. They would have spent the money on rail no matter what the analysis found.
Although cost overruns and ridership shortfalls are a problem, planners don’t bother to greatly cook the books in favor of rail transit because they know that politicians will tend to support it no matter how bad the analysis says it is. This is partly because they only hear what they want to hear.
In Denver, an analysis of the East (airport) Corridor found:
Cost Delay Saved New freeway lanes $305 61,200 HOV lanes/BRT 337 41,900 Diesel rail 374 29,700 Electric rail 571 30,300
Capital costs in millions, delay saved is annual hours of congestion delay saved
by the project. Source: pp. 37-
In other words, new highway lanes or bus-
The only surprising thing to me was that they initially picked Diesel-
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Council is talking
They also propose to spend $60 billion of the resulting revenue on rail transit and
ferries, a mere $10 billion on HOT lanes & bus-
Almost as an afterthought, they note that money invested in freeway operations are
15 to 50 times more cost-
So why blow so much money on rail transit? Because we don’t want to let any real data get in the way of our preconceived notions.
The presentation adds that road pricing could bring in $34 billion a year — five times as much as they spend on all transportation today. You can almost see the planners salivating at the opportunity to spend all that money on rail transit.
The most cost-
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Reprinted from The Antiplanner