Saturday, November 14, 2009

LA story

Friday's LA Times reported "Gold Line links downtown to East LA ... The 6-mile light rail extension, which cost $898 million, will open Sunday with free rides and entertainment." The report also mentioned that MTA expects 13,000 daily riders.

The original 13.7-mile Gold Line link from downtown LA to Pasadena opened six years ago and cost $859-million to build, included 13.7 miles of guideway and served about 18,500 boardings per day.

Both sets of numbers are dismal. I reported some time ago that, all things considered, the original Pasadena line accounts for a net negative $80-million per year of cost-effectiveness, including plausible non-rider ("externality") benefits.

Today's LA Times, however, calls attention to all the public art ("L.A. on track ... Eight new Metro Gold Line stations roll toward an exciting future").

I know, I know. The pyramids of ancient Egypt were also costly. The rulers of their day had slaves; we have compliant taxpayers (and reporters) who never do the math and who buy into the myth that projects like this are "green" and/or "create jobs".


Sunday's (Nov 15) LA Times includes this re the $5-billion extension of LA's Red Line Subway. That is expected to pull in "an estimated 49,000 daily boardings at the new stations and a total of 76,000 new daily boardings throughout the system." Cost-effectiveness is beyond the pale. Yesterday's story was all about what the Eastside gets and todays is about what the Westside gets. Getting this balance right exhausted the energies of everyone involved. Questions of mega-waste are not interesting.