Los Angeles Rip Off

In 2008, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promised voters that extending the city’s Red Line subway would relieve congestion. Voters believed him and supported a sales tax increase to build the line. Now the environmental impact report finds that the subway line will increase rush-hour traffic speeds on parallel streets by, at most, 0.3 mph (p. 3-34). Not surprisingly, some voters — or at least writers at the LA Weekly — feel ripped off.

LA Metro’s response quibbles about the cost of the project. LA Weekly says “Metro plans to use up to $9 billion in sales taxes” on the project, while Metro says the construction cost will be only $4.0 to $4.4 billion. Metro is being disingenuous as both statements can be correct if (as is likely) Metro borrows enough money to incur $4.5 billion or so in interest and finance charges. (Half of the overall payments on a 30-year loan at 5.3 percent turn out to be interest.)

Meanwhile, Metro says nothing about the impacts on traffic. LA Weekly urges that the $9 billion be spent on “county road-capacity projects put off for decades, extensive bus lines to bring the region into the 21st century, and scores of less glitzy projects.” These would be far more cost-effective at reducing congestion.

Still, rail nuts are still claiming that the project is “key to solving traffic problems.” The new EIR proves this wrong. New rail transit lines never relieve congestion because they simply do not attract enough people out of their cars to make a difference. Yet voters often support them because they foolishly believe politicians who lie to them about the benefits of rail. Los Angeles voters should demand that their money be spent more effectively than on a 9.3-mile train tunnel.

Share

9 thoughts on “Los Angeles Rip Off

  1. JimKarlock

    Los Angeles voters should demand that their money be spent more effectively than on a 9.3-mile train tunnel.

    Correction:
    Los Angeles voters should demand that their money be spent more effectively than on a 9.3-mile toy train tunnel.
    (a toy because it costs too much and does too little.)

    Thanks
    JK

  2. Frank

    “New rail transit lines never relieve congestion because they simply do not attract enough people out of their cars to make a difference.”

    Perhaps because rail can’t go everywhere. Rail may soon be built that goes to my work area, but the hassle of getting to the starting point will be extensive as will the walk or connection from the rail station to my work site. Trading a 20 to 25 minute to commute to an hour or more long ordeal makes little sense.

  3. C. P. Zilliacus

    Frank wrote:

    > Perhaps because rail can’t go everywhere. Rail may soon
    > be built that goes to my work area, but the hassle
    > of getting to the starting point will be extensive
    > as will the walk or connection from the rail station
    > to my work site. Trading a 20 to 25 minute to commute
    > to an hour or more long ordeal makes little sense.

    Consider that there are instances where homes near a (heavy) rail station become (relatively more) valuable.

    That does not mean that the rail system is that much of a success, but it does mean that there are people that will pay a premium to live within walking distance of a rail stop (much like there are homes which are worth more because they are within a short distance of a freeway on-ramp).

    The supply of housing (and especially single-family housing) near rail stations is often constrained for the reason you cite, that rail cannot (ever) go everywhere.

  4. Scott

    Building transportation options in accordance to how people travel (ie cars) & charging users (ie gas tax, tolls) is just not viewed as appropriate.

    More R & D for flying carpets would fit in with this fantasy world about public transit.

  5. PlebisPower

    It’s fine to have a discussion about the relative merits or value of rail vs. bus, but I’d like to think we can agree that putting big dollars into road improvements will not get us where we need to go environmentally. In my opinion, it’s also the least creative approach to transportation we could take – and this at t moment when most industrialized nations seem to be leaving us behind innovation-wise. In the time we’ve dickered over the Westside rail expansion, Beijing has added, what, a few new lines?
    The EIR may well accurately portray relatively unchanged congestion conditions post-subway extension. Unless we couple new transportation alternatives with policies that discourage auto use, our local boulevards will suffer the same fate as do freeways when additional capacity is created (at great cost either way): more motorists will fill it. Give folks a reason to ride the rails (or buses) and a disincentive to drive and then we’re getting somewhere (metaphorically speaking).
    Plus, creating new, permanent transportation infrastructure creates great real estate value. Property owners proximate to stations love it. We just need to direct the kind of growth that responds to the considerable public investment, and then recoup some of it through fees, and we’re on our way toward a city like those we enjoy visiting.

  6. Scott

    Plebiscite, “We can agree that putting big dollars into road improvements will not get us where we need to go environmentally.”

    Hell no!!! Way off, way wrong.
    No more “big” road improvements?

    Actually my harshness is towards any of you, who had any agreement with that statement. That statement has a huge shortage on facts & processes. Proof follows.

    I don’t care to type dozens of pages to explain in detail.
    I’ll touch it briefly.

    First off, enviro gets worse with more congestion; that’s what road project stoppage would lead to.

    All developed nations spend big money on roads.
    BTW, the US has the most extensive railroad system, even with the gradual removal of 100,000 miles of track that Highman cries about. And on that system, the US has a higher portion of goods moved, than just about any other nation. Most other nations use trucks more. Just about all other nations also have fewer products per person, due to lower income. The few richer [per capita] nations, also have fewer material goods because of taxes &/or other higher costs of living.

    Where do we want to be environmentally?
    What have big roads done? What’s big problem?
    How would trillions of miles be traveled instead?
    The air is pretty clean. Car exhaust is only at about 4% of 40 years ago.
    Other countries have worse air, especially India & China & they have far fewer drivers & even fewer roads.
    Most trains run on diesel.
    Big rig trucks are tremendously important.

    PP, your ideas, in reducing VMT, have been ongoing for decades. You shouldn’t really jump into new topical blogs about unfamiliar material. Do you make comments on medical & chemistry blogs too?

    Don’t feel bad though, many posters here actually have schooling in this area & or read about it, yet are very short on reality, including basic principles. The problem is, that much of the material is biased & avoids many items, plus not so historical, but distorical.

    People choose cars & non-high density.
    A century ago, there was much higher density in cities, & people had many fewer choices, including no car.
    Now about 85% of the population, live at densities below the level (~8,000) for fairly widespread transit.

    Consider this: If your idea was followed, much of the transportation network would not be here. This is theoretical, not suggesting to remove existing. No 42,000 miles of Interstates; no additional 10,000s of other expressways; no costly bridges. Standard of living would be much lower. Delivery of goods would be really difficult. Using smaller roads increases exhaust.

    In following through, for humans to not hardly do anything that has a disturbance on the environment, it leads to just being hunters & gatherers. The Earth’s carrying capacity for that might be <500,000,000.

    Hey, you're not alone, for wanting no development. That's how we would have to live for the implementation of the goals for about any enviro group. That's how their "watermelon" ideal would be achieved. But their level of "equality" would be horrible, obviously, but their Marxist goal could be achieved. Except for the fact that there would still be elites.

    Once you finish HS, or get your GED, you might understand more. Then again, maybe not, the teaching focus has been missing so many elements of reality & thought processing. Come to think of it, having a diploma certainly doesn't show in Highman or Dan. & many others here who clearly lack understanding on many aspects of developed operations.

    Oh, Northern Lightless, I don't see "the difference between planners & not". That wasn't even mentioned.
    However, there was a mention of one path: behavior modification by coercion, which has been ongoing for urban issues for decades, with failure. Do you mean differentiation with forceful planning vs. people having "their" taxes build wanted public infrastructure? Hey, the Warsaw Pact dissolved.

    The intent of "antiplanning" is missed. All building needs planning. It's referring to heavy government planning, that goes against many people & choices & freedoms. Roads are obviously planned & built by gov, but are clearly wanted, driven on by 80%+ & all benefit from.

    For those who are unaware of a terminology that I used, definition: green on outside, red in center. Get it?

    Oh, to those who are short on brain operation, in preferring much less car usage for society, by authoritarian action: You are most likely hypocrites too.
    There are several 1,000 of square miles of urban area (out of 75,000), that have have a fair amount of transit. Live there.

    Although, with no car & that density, it's tougher to enjoy the environment. Unless, do Enviro lovers really enjoy Manhattan? Great nature hikes? Those people in rural areas must be miserable. And with only cars for transport, the enviro must be awful.

Leave a Reply