Ur­ban rail

Austin American-Statesman - - OPINION -

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 jsk­aggs131@aol.com

austin

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