Re: June 24 article “City ponders how to pay for urban rail.”
The Austin City Council authorized a $100,000 consultant study to determine how to fund a proposed urban rail system. Yet the city has not completed comprehensive studies to determine the system’s true costs and effectiveness.
The city has substantially underestimated costs at $1.3 billion for construction and $25 million annual operations. Year 2030 estimates of about 13,800 weekday round-trips are highly inflated at 36 times the 380 on Cap Metro’s commuter train. Even this inflated ridership requires tax subsidies of more than $10 for each ride or $5,000 annually for each daily round-trip rider. Considering more realistic costs and ridership, subsidies could approach the current, unsustainable $80 per ride of Capital Metro’s commuter train.
Projected city revenue shortages don’t support priority, basic city services. Austin should not spend tax dollars studying how to wastefully spend tax money providing insignificant amenities.
Jim SkaggS firstname.lastname@example.org