Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Streetcar Derailing A Long-Term Blow To Transit Modernization

Madison will rue the day it put trolley planning aside, in favor of commuter rail, which will help remove some commuter traffic from crowded streets - - and which purportedly frees up spending on social problems that conservatives who hail the death of trolley spending will never allow to be allocated to social problem eradication.

Nor will highway spending ever be held to the same level of scrutiny, or be allocated according to its need and value compared to spending on crime, education and other social priorities.

Rail politics in Wisconsin has made city rail - - light, trolley or hybrid vehicles like those suggested, but also derailed for Milwaukee - - so difficult to achieve that the state's major cities will be the Light-Rail-Free-Zones of the US.

When gasoline breaks $4 a gallon, then $5 in the next five years, the demand for more transit will grow louder.

And Madison, Milwaukee and other short-sighted cities will have no others to blame.

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