Look at All the Pretty Trains! That Giant Sucking Sound Heard in Seattle…

December 22, 2005


The monorail: listed as one of Seattle’s top ten engineering disasters of our time.

The inefficient, l9th century light rail technology has taken hold in many cities, among them San Diego, Portland, and Seattle. The story is pretty much the same everywhere: the transportation gods throw their lot in with the usual consultants who preach this inefficient technology, sell the politicians on it who begin making big plans, closing tunnels, buying up easements–all without a public vote (interstate and Clackamas light rail plans, anyone?). Their thinking is geez, if the public knew it would cost $100 million a mile (West Side Light Rail), they wouldn’t say yes and we simply can’t have that!
Predictably, these costs siphon off all available funds for improving roads, increasing bus routes, and giving people more of a choice on where they wish to travel.
Of course in Oregon, light rail is less about getting people to work than in getting them to their newly planned, high density, European like communities. Some of those communities are very nice, especially for beginning home buyers without kids or the upwardly mobile folks in the Pearl who relish tax abatements and don’t need any space to stretch out with their chillins. But, for the most part, light rail doesn’t go where you want to go, obviously isn’t flexible, and is a major throw back in vision.
In Seattle, where “leaders” there finally read the tea leaves–and the balance sheets–and appropriately shut down the monorail plan to Ballard when it began taking on “big dig” like proportions from the budget, they still haven’t gotten hip to the rip off that is lightrail. Read this article in the Wall Street Journal today about it.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com