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Time for the adults to slam on the brakes

So a bit more detail has surfaced, and it turns out that Capital Metro, according to the short description in the latest stimulus proposal from our local governments, is now asking for federal dollars to, hold on your hats:

triple-track the Red Line.

The theory, I guess, is to keep freight service in the middle, and run the DMU trains on the outside tracks.

Here's what I'm writing to City Council, as we speak:

Dear councilmembers:

Please exercise whatever authority you deem necessary to stop Capital Metro's insane attempt to use federal stimulus dollars to, as the poorly detailed proposal goes, "triple-track the Red Line". This is a disastrous attempt to throw good money after bad - the Red Line, even if it had ten tracks, will still never be able to deliver passengers directly to their final destinations, unlike good light rail starter lines in places like Dallas and Houston. This is, and will always be, a commuter rail line that requires people transfer to shuttlebuses, or in the distant future, another rail vehicle, to get to their offices or other destinations.

Investing money in this corridor and this technology is exactly the kind of foolish decision that Capital Metro should be stopped from making - just like how you stopped them from the initial attempt to run Rapid Bus down Guadalupe - another investment of many dollars with little prospective return.

Instead, I urge you to seek federal dollars for the CAMPO TWG urban rail plan - which, unlike Capital Metro's awful commuter line, can and will serve residents of the city of Austin by directly connecting major activity centers without ridership-killing transfers. It, unlike commuter rail, can eventually be expanded to more and better destinations and dense residential areas. It, unlike commuter rail, can and will generate transit-oriented development which pays the city back and then some for our investment.

In 2004, Capital Metro ignored the needs of their consituents and bought into a technology and route which is a dead-end that can never really be a competitive option for the business of Austin commuters. Even for residents of Leander, the Red Line (with shuttle transfer) is only competitive if we ignore the express buses that already exist today.

Please stop them before they do it again. We don't have enough rail dollars (local or federal) to build both this ghastly abomination and the urban rail core that can one day bring us what many other light-rail cities have succeeded with.

Mike Dahmus
City of Austin Urban Transportation Commission, 2000-2005

This entry was posted in the following categories: 2008 Light Rail , Austin , Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want , PS: I am not a crackpot , Transit in Austin , Transportation


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Mike, I'm beginning to suspect you don't like this commuter rail thing.

Dear God. Triple-track the Red Line??? For 2,000 commuters?

They are effing insane.

Well, of course, they insist that they need to run trains all day in order to boost ridership.

After all, Tri-Rail now runs trains every 20 minutes all day long (as many trains as many light rail systems do), and they passed 10,000 passengers per day on a 70-mile corridor. Which would, uh, make it the absolute worst light rail line in the country. Oops.

This is clearly an assination plot directed squarely at M1KE.

The whole point of the Obama stimulus plan is to piss away as much money as possible. This seems as good a way to waste a billion or so as anything else.

This is clearly an assassination plot directed squarely at M1KE.

The whole point of the Obama stimulus plan is to piss away as much money as possible. This seems as good a way to waste a billion or so as anything else.

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