5 Reasons to Vote Against Light Rail in Austin

1. Light rail will not relieve traffic congestion.

Based upon Capital Metro ridership projections, it is estimated that light rail will remove barely one percent of cars from IH-35 and the MoPac Freeways will be barely one percent. From 2000 to 2025 traffic is projected to increase more than 60 percent. Light rail is a one percent solution to a 60 percent problem.

2. Ridership appears to be significantly over-projected.

Capital Metro projects that opening year light rail ridership in Austin will exceed that achieved by all light rail lines built since World War II (such as Portland, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Dallas). This is four times that of Denver's new light rail line that has been so widely publicized for its ridership.

3. Light rail is likely to cost much more than projected.

Capital Metro claims it can deliver the 52 mile light rail system for $1.9 billion. But already there are strong indications of cost escalation. Just in its September 25 meeting, Capital Metro considered system enhancements that would add $170 million to the project. This is as much as Denver spent on its entire highly touted (by Capital Metro) light rail line.

4. Light rail will consume a disproportionate share of regional resources.

Over the next 25 years, light rail will consume more than one-third of Austin area transportation taxes. It is unwise to spend more than 33 percent of resources on a strategy that will move 0.5 percent of travel in the metropolitan area.

5. Light rail will preclude other transportation improvements.

Based upon currently projected growth rates, the Austin area could become one of the most contested in the nation by 2025. The disproportionate spending on light rail will further delay badly needed improvements to the Austin area roadway system that could speed traffic, reduce congestion and reduce air pollution.

This page is sponsored, without external financial support, by Wendell Cox Consultancy.

(c) 2000 www.publicpurpose.com --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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