February 3, 2011


Lest you think the President is the only guy who wants us all ridin' trains, The Denver Post reports:

The Metro Mayors Caucus is pushing for an election this year to double the current 0.4 percent FasTracks sales tax so the financially troubled transit project can be completed by the end of this decade.

The caucus, which represents about 40 mayors in metro Denver, coalesced around the 0.4 percentage-point increase after hearing poll results Wednesday that suggest area voters would pay a higher tax if they are convinced it will deliver FasTracks as promised by the Regional Transportation District seven years ago.

MONORAIL!......MONORAIL! ..."But Main Street's still all cracked and broken!"..."Sorry, Mom, the Mayors have spoken!"

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at February 3, 2011 3:49 PM

Point of curiosity - is there actually any public mass transit system which is self-supporting on the basis of fares collected and advertising space sold anywhere in America (not counting within the borders of theme parks)? I don't begrudge the existence of monorails, city busses, and subways if they're self supporting, but if I'm underwriting a portion of somebody else's ride to work, I have a problem with that.

Amtrak delenda est!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 3, 2011 5:06 PM

I always guessed that the NYC subways might come close to break-even, but I could be worshipping government again. Maybe you're right.

I doubt it's destined for success in Colorado, though. We combine your SoCal love of cars with a fierce, Western independent streak.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2011 5:45 PM

There is not a public mass transit system anywhere in the world that supports itself.

When those "robber barons" ran the railroads, they subsidized their passenger service based on freight traffic. Even so, with the advent of cars and airlines, passenger revenue fell even lower.

Because the government was involved, railroad were not permitted to cancel service or close certain routes (passenger or freight) to cut costs.

Which led to a raft of bankruptcies in the 50s and 60s.

... and now we have Amtrak with loses billions, while the major railroads make millions hauling more freight than ever.... unburdened with passenger service.

What a country.

Posted by: AlexC at February 5, 2011 2:25 PM

The subway system here?! Surely you jest?

All right. New York's Metro Transit Authority cannot sustain itself at any level, whether you're talking about within in a single borough, the city proper, or any of the counties it serves. Both NYC and Albany give much Albany gives. Vanished into thin air was the supposed $833 million surplus of several years ago, after fares were hiked from $1.50 to $2 per ride. They're now $2.50, with big cuts in the discounts for multi-ride and monthly tickets. But hey, somebody's gotta pay for all the union workers' generous health care plans, and their ability to retire after 20 years. At the end of 2005, the MTA went on an illegal strike for three days, after they didn't get their demands for a guaranteed 8% pay increase every year for three years.

Here is a thorough take, and though it's several years old, it still holds true. This was my take, several months before the illegal strike. Nothing's changed, not just in the last several years, but in the last several decades. The subways grow slower and dirtier, and management doesn't care. I should consider myself that my train from Westchester merely gets delayed and/or rerouted because the controllers can't decide which track to use. If I were commuting in from Long Island, its line is perhaps the worst-managed railroad ever.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 6, 2011 10:53 PM | What do you think? [4]