Rey Garduño is just wrong on the Rail Runner

It figures that outgoing Albuquerque City Councilor Rey Garduño is a fan of the Rail Runner. He outlines the supposed reasons for his passenger rail fetish in today’s Albuquerque Journal.

Unfortunately, whenever he discusses specific justifications for the train, he turns to generalities like “Ample evidence exists that a high-quality transit system can make a region more competitive in attracting new workers and businesses.” What evidence? Is transit a cause or an effect? What did the Rail Runner do to boost New Mexico’s economy or that of the Santa Fe/Albuquerque corridor? Of course, he admits that the Rail Runner had no impact in the very next paragraph.

Garduño ultimately embarks upon a series of half-baked arguments as to why roads are MORE subsidized than transit which is silly as the chart from the American Dream Coalition confirms (remember that the Rail Runner is THE MOST HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED transit system in the nation in terms of operating costs (less than 10% fare box ratio) so it is going to be much worse than other commuter rail systems:

And lastly, there is the utility of roads vs. transit. Transit is a perk or service, not a necessity. No housing development or business will locate where you ONLY have transit and no roads. You can’t get emergency services from a train. You can’t make deliveries on the Rail Runner. Roads are a necessity. In sparsely-populated New Mexico, transit is an expensive luxury. If the Big I was destroyed tomorrow. It’d have to be rebuilt starting the next day lest the region’s economy fall into a steep decline. If the Rail Runner went out of service for good there would be little to no impact on our economy.

Unfortunately, Garduño who represents a poor and economically-distressed area, seems to believe that using taxpayers dollars for wasteful luxuries is a great idea.

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7 Replies to “Rey Garduño is just wrong on the Rail Runner”

  1. No public rail system in the world is supported by ridership alone! I’m not certain, but increased numbers of vehicles traveling a given route will create air pollution. Add highway repair, not counting the frustrations of traffic detours and delays, and the costs are greater.

  2. That is the problem Judith. PUBLIC! It is a waste of tax payer money to subsidize the rail runner. Privatize or sell it. Also the density of population or in NM, the lack of it, makes the train an even bigger loser. And originally, Bill Richardson, who I regard as a criminal, misappropriated $500 million of highway money for this little venture that we probably will be lucky to salvage $100 million from the sale of this loser. I happened to work in Santa Fe for 3 months. I drove 100 miles round trip every day. It took me 45 minutes less time to get their and the train was delayed as many days as traffic was snarled. Get rid of it.

  3. Automobile emissions are a fraction of what they once were, and are almost non-existent now, particularly in late model cars. To say that the Railrunner reduces pollution because a few cars no longer travel the roads may be technically correct, but I’d say the amount is very very small.

    As for the train itself, it may be full of hot air but it runs on diesel, and that ain’t exactly pollution-free, if ya know what I mean.

  4. Keep up the good fight, Paul!

    Rey Garduno and many other are just wrong on the rail runner continued existence.

    I wish people could see the dollars being burned as the rail runner goes down the tracks.

    Their jaws would drop!

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