Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sykes' Callers Like Rail; Even Charlie Agrees Some Is Good

I didn't hear all of it, but Charlie Sykes this morning administered the requisite bashing to something I posted yesterday about light rail, here.

But I did hear the three calls he took, and was that ever interesting.

UPDATE: I found the time this afternoon to listen to Charlie's podcast - - the segment begins at the 23.75 minute mark.

My personal highlight: though Charlie read the heart of my posting and was unable to utter my name, he did call me "a local lefty environmentalist tofu guy."

Hey: I object to that. I hate tofu.

But when Charlie referred to light rail supporters as "the Jim Rowens of the world," I nearly ran for a cigarette and I don't even smoke.


The first caller, from Fond du Lac, agreed that light rail and other forms of rail would be great for the region, introducing, as she called it, "the culture" of rail.

Charlie had to dismiss her as part of - - his words - - the sandals and tofu crowd: I love it when talk radio hosts rip their own listeners.

The second caller agreed with Charlie, in part because on a light rail train he couldn't listen to talk radio, like he does in his car.

The third caller, a self-described third-generation transit employee, came down in the middle. He said buses were better than rail in the downtown, but supported rail service to the airport and to Miller Park.

As do I.

I even mentioned the airport in my posting - - and the most recent version of urban rail, the electric guided-bus, planned a stop and station in the Miller Park lot.

And Charlie agreed with caller #3 - - sort of off-message for a righty talker - - but still interesting.

If you had rail to the airport and to Miller Park, inevitably and logically, those lines would stop at nearby destinations - - the casino, the Zoo, the Third Ward, and so forth.

That's called a system. It's how it works in other cities, even those where Charlie erroneously called their systems fiscal disasters.

The same systems that are expanding because ridership numbers have been rising even before the tipping point in gas prices was hit.

Charlie railed against rail and the subsidies, as he called them, the systems need - - as if highways aren't subsidized to the tune of billions in Wisconsin every year, with fresh billions on the way in our own backyard.

Anyhow: thanks for the discussion, Charlie. We're all making progress.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

apropos to this discussion, see some of the charts that go with this article (More drivers turn to transit) - showing significant commuter rail & light rail increases in other cities!