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Thread: "Great Rail Disasters" 2005

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    Feb 2004
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    "Great Rail Disasters" 2005

    From Mr. O'Toole. http://www.americandreamcoalition.org/RD2005.pdf

    The rebuttal, from Mr. Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute. http://www.vtpi.org/railcrit.pdf

    The anti-rail (and, for that matter, anti-urban and anti-planning) chatter seems to increase in intensity. O'Toole's illogical and fatally flawed measures of the success of mass transit (e.g. Per-mile fatalities instead of per-capita) point to a disingenuous intellectual dishonesty. Before conducting his analysis, O'Toole already had his desired outcome written in stone - rail transit is a bad thing. He just wanted to pick out the statistics to show that it's slower, more dangerous, less efficient, and more costly than driving. To him and his ilk, mass transit is a welfare service for the "inner city" (read: non-white) poor who can't afford a car, and nothing more.

    Though transit critics complain about rail lines built closer in town that they might never find occassion to ride, yet must pay for with their tax dollars, we never hear them complain about building new highways on the other side of the metropolitan region that they too must pay for, yet will never drive on. And, though O'Toole specifically criticizes planning and land use regulation as an abridgement of one's freedom to live where and how one chooses, he only does so to the extent that such planning and regulation discourages sprawl and driving and encourages increased density and transit usage, completely ignoring all of the planning and land use regulation required to produce automobile-dependent sprawl in the first place - setbacks, minimum lot sizes, rediculous street widths, separation of uses, and on and on. His bias is clear: preserve the auto-dependent status quo at any cost.

  2. #2
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    May 2003
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    Our new general plan will mention the possibility of fuel disruptions or fuel cost increases, and the potential that a proposed passenger rail will enable citizens to access their jobs and services in the event that automobile travel will become unusually expensive. The General Plan has a target of 2025. It is likely that residents will be thankful for a transportation alternative somewhere between now and 2025. That is what planning is about.

    It's also possible that commute costs will remain virtually "free" as they were in the 1990's, in which case, we were wrong to look at alternatives. The history of the U.S. is largely the history of transportation boondoggles -- canals, railroads, trolleys, cars, and airplanes. Each one has been supported by massive government subsidies and has been replaced by some factor that could not be anticipated in the height of the boondoggle phase of the the particular transit mode.

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