Friday, July 01, 2005

Campaign promises

LA's new Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is now in office and the LA Times reports that "Promises, Promises Could Cost LA Millions, Billions." These include extending each one of the area's rump rail system lines. The Red Line subway would be among these and the cost of that one alone is projected to be $2.7 billion.

This is the line that was to carry 3760,000 riders per day (1983 EIR) but actually serves about 25% of that. Construction costs went over $300 million/mile and the bus system had to be curtailed to make ends meet.

But who's counting? In a low-turnout election, a heavy union vote was essential and the faithful must be rewarded. That much makes sense.

What make no sense is support for this silliness from quarters that do not even have the excuse that they are on the take. Green groups fall into this category and now invoke the threat of global warming to make the case for projects like this.

Trouble is that low transit ridership, negligible impacts on auto use, high-energy heavy lifting during construction and (gasp) high levels of electric power use to run the underused trains do not add up to any atmospheric benefits.

There's a lower standard when other people's money is involved.