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Reason Foundation

Skeptical of South Atlanta Commuter Rail Project

Leonard Gilroy
August 16, 2005, 10:48am

Nice to see rail skeptics get some ink: Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, particularly given the high probability that the $4 million cost is a lowball figure. Predictably, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a different view: This last bit is so typical and frustrating -- are the merits of this particular rail proposal so blindingly apparent that it is ludicrous to even question it? Doesn't it make sense to question why the 95% of the public that won't use it should be saddled with the costs to cover the transit usage of the other 5%? And about the "strong evidence to support the assumption" of success -- is removing a couple hundred cars a day from a volume of tens of thousands some sort of stunning achievement? Sounds to me like the critics are rightfully skeptical. Nonsense. Joel Schwartz handily shredded the induced demand/congestion/air pollution canard in a piece last year. It's just a shame that urban newspapers have become so infatuated with boondoggle transit projects that they have a knee-jerk predisposal for endorsing them. This certainly influences a lot of readers who don't have a lot of access to alternative venues for local information. However, I will give the AJC credit for running Ms. Coffman's rebuttal alongside their endorsement.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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