I was on vacation and out of town over the Thanksgiving, so I was unable to get to some of the op-eds and other information on this blog. The most interesting and worthy of response was this piece on the Rail Runner. Simply put, the author makes several completely unsubstantiated claims regarding the Rail Runner. I’ll respond to each point in bold:
First, and most importantly, there are efficiency benefits that result when the Rail Runner reduces costs due to traffic congestion, road construction and maintenance, parking facilities, accidents and pollution. Simply not true. Portland, Oregon, the most transit-intensive city in the nation is also one of the most congested. In fact, most transit advocates want to INCREASE congestion
Second, there are the benefits to the people who were already using commuter buses in the Belen/Santa Fe corridor before Rail Runner and who now enjoy more comfortable and more frequent service. Is taking a bus to the Rail Runner and then taking another bus once you get off the Rail Runner really better than a shuttle bus? Also, which is quicker? The author makes an assertion but has no facts.
Third, there are the benefits to people who are physically, economically or socially disadvantaged who couldn’t travel before the Rail Runner, but now can. He just mentioned buses. Has anyone asked the handicapped? I’ve seen no polling on this, so again, an assertion with no backup.
The simple fact is that the Rail Runner is heavily-subsidized with little benefit in terms of the environment or congestion. It is time to shut it down.