Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Make your city a ýrealţ cityˇjust add rail

Ted Balaker
December 21, 2006, 10:54am

A college newspaper oped-er gushes over Minneapolis's light rail line: Forget your sterile cost-benefit analysis, the desire to be a "real" city lies at the heart of much of the light rail craze. But if it's "real" expensive, the "real" city dream might not last long. Consider what's happening in Portland, Oregon the city that I think is almost entirely populated by out of town city council members oohing and ahhing over real-live light rail lines. They're eager to bring "sustainable" transportation to their home towns, but how sustainable is Portland's approach? Headline: Transit projects running on empty There's also a "financially constrained" list of projects that costs $4.2 billion: Apparently some revamping is in the works: BTW, something else is waning in Portland. John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute points to a Portland Business Alliance survey (see last page of pdf) that shows that the percentage of downtown employees who use light rail to get to work has tumbled from 20 percent in 2001 to 14 percent in 2005. This is especially significant since downtown commuters are typically the easiest people for rail lines to serve. Related: Other Cities Celebrate the Transcendent Power of Rail

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