Monday, September 13, 2004

Rocky opens attack on FasTracks.

The Rocky Mountain News has taken the lead in the attack on FasTracks, the multibillion dollar transit referendum facing metro Denver voters this November 2nd.

In the first of a three part editorial series. This editorial entitled “Transit Plan Won’t Improve Our Mobility.” In this editorial the Rocky argues that while Fast Tracks will cost $4.7 billion, even The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), one of the biggest proponents of FasTracks, admits that FasTracks will have little to no impact on highway speeds in the metro area. The thesis of this editorial is that “[I]n short, FasTracks will have no perceptible impact on highway speeds - even at rush hour”.

Part two of the attack , “Bill For FasTracks Should Derail It” examines the staggering cost of the planned build out. The Rocky points out the staggering cost of adding riders to each line, this on top of the fact that the supporters of FasTracks cannot guarantee that it will significantly reduce traffic congestion. “According to the Denver Regional Council of Governments - and remember, DRCOG is a FasTracks fan - the cost per rider on the proposed rail lines will range from a low of $4.83-$5.65 in the west corridor through Lakewood to Golden to $16-$18.79 on the diesel commuter train that would run from downtown Denver up U.S. 36 and on to Longmont. That's each way in a daily commute, and those estimates include a significant proportion of riders - in some corridors, easily half - who already are taking mass transit. In other words, the cost for each new daily transit rider on the train to Longmont will certainly top $60, and most likely be substantially more.”

The Rocky closes its assault on FasTracks with this editorial. In it they close the circle by stating that FasTracks, like Guide the Ride before it, is a flawed plan that will take too many resources, over one half of all transportation dollars, and allocate those resources to at best 4% of the transportation mix, mass transit. The Rocky argues for voters to reject FasTracks, and for RTD to come back with smaller regional programs such as T-Rex.

The Rocky may be right. T-Rex won at the ballot box. Guide the Ride, a plan stunningly similar to FasTracks lost by a huge margin. It to was ahead in the polls better than 60-40 this time in that election cycle. Surely more will be written on this subject as we approach election day.

Cross posted at Polstate .

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