Saturday, August 11, 2007

Extra creepy

Today's LA Times reports that "Major work begins on Expo Line". Not only have I lost a parking space and a view (and gained a continuing tax bite to pay for this turkey' shortfalls) but I will also get endless spinning by local officials to make a bad idea look good.

"Standing amid mounds of dirt at the edge of USC on Friay, political leaders celebrated a milestone for L.A.'s fledgling rail system: the start of major construction for a rail line from downtown to the Westside." This time, it was all visible from my office window.

This morning's report mentions an initial 8.6-mile alignment that will experience 43,000 daily boardings by 2025. That's about 5,000 boardings per day per mile of line. But local officials think big and it appears that they really want to extend the project to 15.6 miles which they say will serve 72,000 boardings per day.

The same folks gave us three other light-rail facilities (the Blue, the Green and the Gold Lines) that together amount to 54.9 miles of route and that serve almnost 126,000 boardings per day (the last time I looked). That's 2290 per mile of alignment per day. Benefit-cost-wise (and adding generous non-rider benefit assumptions), these three account for a negative $250-million per year.

Rail transit in LA (and in most other places) is a jobs program that has nothing to do with sensible transportation planning. But it's extra creepy just outside my office window.