Found in San Antonio:
An independent report on that proposed $180 million, two mile long streetcar line through downtown concludes that it would be disasters for Via Metro Transit, for the city, and, mainly, for low income San Antonians…
And why is the city considering such a project?
Analyst Jeff Judson…says there is only one reason why officials like Mayor Julian Castro and County Judge Nelson Wolff are pushing so hard for the project.
“They have a burning desire to become members of the Light Rail Country Club,” Judson said. “The initiation fee runs in the billions of dollars, and the monthly dues come at the expense of other important public investments. It makes no economic sense, but it supposedly says that we are a world class city. [emphasis mine]”
More analysis from Judson:
A study of other streetcar and rail programs established in other cities concludes that nine out of ten projects end up costing 40% to 100% more than originally planned, and he says the idea that a streetcar program leads to economic development along the route is ‘fanciful.’ /snip
And he says city planners aren’t even counting on the negative economic development which will occur to the area when the streets are torn up for years building the project.
“Rail is absolutely the most expensive thing that can be built to move people,” Judson said. “It is a great way to sink a financially stable transit system, to build a rail system like this.”
What actually makes a world class city? Here’s one take on Houston’s efforts.
And yet, Houston, with its many wonderful assets, is sadly lacking in an important criterion that would define a truly world-class city: appreciation, preservation and promotion of 150-plus years of history.
But never fear! According to the Urban Dictionary, H-town is the place to be!
First word heard from the moon. The nation’s fourth largest city and home to the Texas Medical Center (the world’s largest) and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Few cities in the world can match H-Town as a source for blues and rap talent. Home of ZZ Top and Beyoncé.
One of the best places to live, work, play, eat, play music, hear music, do art, see art, get sick, get well, work out, hang out, and make a decent living doing whatever your heart says you were put on earth to do.
So – according to politocrats, a world-class city has things like football stadiums and light rail lines and old buildings, but according to the hip UD crowd, a world class city has great music (depending upon your taste, of course), and is a place where you can do whatever you want and still be able to make a living.
Lacking from both of these descriptions are things like solid infrastructure, well-managed finances, etc. But given the two views, I’m with the Urban Dictionary crowd. At least they reference the wide-ranging activities, the freedom to do what you want (hopefully legal), and the strong economy that allows most to find a good job and make a living.
But San Antonio thinks they need light rail. It sounds so familiar. What is it about politocrats that they are so susceptible to train envy?