Out of Control Policy Blog

Pricier, later, shorter II

The rail three-step strikes again. This time in Raleigh-Durham.

Pricer: The rail line was originally supposed to cost $250 million, but then rose to $844 million. The price was then trimmed to just under $700 million, still much higher than the original projection. (Last August the local transit agency also asked the feds to cover 61 percent of the capital costs, up from 50 percent.)

Later: The line was supposed to open in 2007, and this could delay it again:

    The Federal Transit Administration has changed its rating of the Triangle's proposed commuter rail service from "recommended" to neutral, saying it cannot endorse the $695 million project until it resolves new doubts about its benefits.

If this isn't resolved, it could actually kill the project.

Again, media reports fail to show the big picture. For example, this article gives the impression that 2008 was the opening year all along:

    Funding for the Triangle Transit Authority's regional rail project may not make President Bush's proposed budget, but the authority's leader still hopes to keep the project on track for a 2008 launch.

Shorter: How did the transit agency cut costs? By cutting the project--from 35 miles to 28, and from 16 stations to 12.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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