Falling away from rail

Light rail has a knack for sprouting new lines even though such projects are hugely expensive. Now it seems like a mini-counter trend is emerging. Louisville recently ditched its light rail plans, and now Cincinnati follows suit: Light rail is no longer a priority of Greater Cincinnati transportation planners because money can’t be found to pay the estimated $2.6 billion such a rapid transit system would cost. Looks like these cities will be spared all the cost escalations that typically accompany light rail, as well as the fuzzy logic in which project costs can increase nearly 80 percent and still be “on budget”. From Minneapolis (registration required): In 1997, the project was approved at $400 million, but has since grown to $715 million. But officials say that expansion came from inflation, project changes and added features, not overspending. With a season of construction remaining on the south end of the line, project chief of staff Mark Fuhrmann says all major hurdles are in the past. He’s confident the full line will open in December on budget.