Friday, July 31, 2015

Meet the latest Central Texas Rail Boondoggle

"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

Agenda 21 on steroids AND a multi-billion pricetag...what's not to love?!?
A national transportation expert calls the proposed Lone Star Rail project between Austin and San Antonio a bust for taxpayers.

Carrying an initial price tag of $2 billion to $3 billion, the commuter line would take over existing Union Pacific tracks near Interstate 35 and shift freight onto new rails to the east.

“This is how absurd governments can be when it comes to rail,” said Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the free-market Cato Institute.

“Union Pacific bought 8,000 miles of Southern Pacific tracks for $3 billion. To spend $3 billion for one short line is not in the realm of possibility,” he told in an interview.

Lone Star Rail supporters are banking on matching money from Washington, and since the federal New Starts program no longer requires projects to prove “operating efficiencies,” LSTAR remains bureaucratically viable.


O’Toole likens policymakers’ fixation with rail projects to the continued installation of streetcars in 1915, when automobiles were starting to hit the roads en masse.

“Technological change will overcome congestion,” he said, predicting the evolving generation of new cars could triple the capacity of existing roads, including I-35.

“Once 25 percent of cars have adaptive cruise control, roughly half of all congestion will go away,” O’Toole forecast.

Meantime, the Cato expert maintained no rail system in America can move more people than a two-lane freeway.

Undaunted, the government-run Lone Star Rail District is working with municipalities to form transportation infrastructure zones. Property tax increases within the zones would go toward train operations and maintenance. Sales tax increases are also being considered.
Read the whole thing here.

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