Wednesday, April 23, 2008

At a Bargain price of $371 Million, Woodward Ave may get 8 fashionable miles of Light Rail - What could possibly go wrong?

Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
Bona fide,
Monorail! ...
What'd I say?
Ned Flanders: Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: What's it called?
Patty+Selma: Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: That's right! Monorail!

The Simpsons Marge vs the Monorail

From the Detroit News:

DETROIT -- City leaders have pinned their mass transit hopes on an eight-mile stretch down Woodward Avenue that connects the State Fairgrounds with downtown, calling the $371 million project a "first step" toward the return of light rail to Metro Detroit.

Construction could begin in three years, with an estimated 11,000 riders a day by 2013.

At about $33,727.27 per rider, we may be better off buying each of them a used car...but that $371 Million is just the starting cost.

"It's not an end, it's a start," said Norman White, the chief financial
officer for the city and project manager of the Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study.
We were afraid of that.
But questions remain: How will the area pay for it, and how will it handle a substantial annual subsidy?

White, a former DDOT director, said mass transportation is subsidized in Detroit and elsewhere.

The reward for developing interconnecting transit systems is the development they'll spur. In Dallas, Denver and other cities building or expanding their light rail systems, land around the lines has seen millions of dollars in construction.

"That's the payoff you get," White said. "No system will ever pay for itself."
Draw your own conclusions on that one, a promise of potential development along an 8 mile strip on Woodward - in Detroit, a city quite unlike Denver and Dallas in quite a number of economic ways, in return for an eternal tax subsidy that you know Detroit will mismanage and will be tapping the suburbs to pay for...

Step right up for the monorail folks, step right this way....

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