Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Laugh At Detroit If You Will, But Its Private Sector Is Putting Up Money For Light Rail

Could this happen here?

4 comments:

JPK said...

Interesting approach to light rail. Even better is that the Detroit folks have a study which looks at the economic benefits of light rail.

How come the Milw advocates can't do the same and get the data out there?

Research from other cities shows massive collateral investments happen after light-rail construction, and thus tax base growth.

To be honest, I'm tired of the whiny fairness and green angles of light rail. Rail is an economic engine that boosts real estate values, creates jobs, and adds infrastructure value to a city. Period. It's why Scott Walker's opposition doesn't make any sense.

Milw advocates of rail need to start touting real economic benefits or it'll never happen. Get a darn study.

James Rowen said...

Walker is a talk radio captive, so that trumps everything.

And if he ever becomes Governor, he will give Milwaukee the Grover Norquist drowning.

jpk said...

Betcha Walker won't become Gov. Here's why... he hasn't really done anything for Milw County. Including finally getting his college degree, which he promised he would get -- and it's how many years later?

My guess is that top Republicans know these things and will shop around for a stronger candidate with substance.

PS "Grover Norquist drowning" -- that's one for the quote book.

TWW said...

Who are you trying to kid?

Detroit’s proposed rail system is 3.4 miles long that links numerous business locations within the adjacent downtown area. That’s not a commuter rail system; it’s a novelty similar to Detroit’s current raised rail system, the People Mover (i.e. dubbed the Mugger Mover). A viable commuter rail system would require tentacles running through Wayne County’s economically depressed areas to Oakland and Macomb counties via Dearborn Ave, Woodward Ave, Gratiot Ave., and along I-75. Private funding may pay for 3.4 miles of track and operations, but not dozens of miles of track. Also keep in mind that Detroit's current public bus transportation system is pathetic.


The equivalent in Milwaukee would be like running a rail line from Miller Park to the lakefront.


Moreover, the Detroit system is privately funded whereas Milwaukee’s proposed system was publicly funded.
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For what it's worth, I typically use mass transit in my commute from Waukesha to downtown via Wisconsin Coach Lines. I save money on gas and parking, despite the increased commute time. Equally importantly, the service is convenient. I would use light rail if it were comparably priced, faster, and convenient.


Is light rail viable in Milwaukee? How is the current mass transit system deficient to the point where comparable funds spent on light rail infrastructure and operations (hence providing duplicity of service) would be more beneficial than allocating those funds on current mass transit options? Please don’t answer – because it would be federal funds because if we can’t justify spending our own money, then it is just foolish use of other people’s money.


Is light rail viable for Milwaukee? How is a light rail solution of today any better than the interurban, trolley, doodlebug, or RDC solutions that gave way to the automobile’s flexibility in the 1950s and 1960s? How will a rail solution convince today’s automobile commuter to use the system (over bus transit) to increase the collective use of mass transit?