Borders rails against … rail (light rail, that is)

The latest Ideas Matter update from Max Borders features an item exposing the problems associated with light rail.

If you live in or near a city of more than 100,000, you’ve probably heard some noisy group of politicians and smart growthers talk up “light rail” — the 18th century travel technology that gets started in the 20th century and you’ll pay through the nose for in the 21st. Does light rail make any sense at all? Consider the data and come to your own conclusions. …

… Light rail typically costs 10 times that of a freeway mile but typically carries 1/6th the people. Municipal rail, sports stadiums and convention centers are the modern equivalents of the pyramids: expensive, involuntary and non-cost effective. Well, at least light rail is built in 1/3 the time.

If these things make no sense to build, why are so many cities building them? Two reasons: faddishness and special interests. We should always ask ourselves the four questions: Who benefits? Who Chooses? Who Pays? What’s Fair? Light rail does not possibly pass that smell test.

You’ll likely enjoy the accompanying video, though you might want to cover the kids’ ears a couple of times.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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