"Commuter Rail’s False Promise" Boston Globe 12/31/06

Larry. Are you starting off the year “on the road again.” Yes I am. I accept the fact that the voters have spoken and approved measure M. My focus will now shift to pointing out transportation alternatives so that we don’t flush another chunk of taxpayer money down the toilet on some new “light rail” brainstorming.
Supervisor Moorlach, in his New Year Resolutions for 2007 as reported in the Daily Pilot, states a goal of “improving our transportation system, with an emphasis of “LANES OVER TRAINS.” Thank you John.

Let me suggest your reading of Tom Keane’s article in the Dec 31st Boston Globe. In his report he mentions an analysis by Harvard-educated urban planner Eric Beaton. Beaton’s study was published in September by the Rappaport Institute for greater Boston. Although we are on the opposite side of the country the data is still applicable to Orange County.

Let me share one paragraph of the Globe article.

“There’s more. Commuter rail is skewed toward serving the affluent. Unlike buses or subways, rail largely connects well-off suburbanites to downtown jobs in high-paid fields such as finance and law. Moreover, new rail stations have a trivial effect on automobile use, meaning they do little to help the environment. (In fact, according to MBTA’s own data, commuter rail which relies on diesel-powered trains–often increases the emissions of nitrogen oxides, which can contribute to the formation of smog.) And travel by rail is not as inexpensive as its advocates would have you believe. If you own a car already, the cost of driving may actually be cheaper.”

The bottom line. Keep your eyes on the OCTA as they conjure up ways to get us out of our cars. While the gold at Fort Knox is diminishing the “gold” derived from Orange County taxpayers is now under their control for the next 30 plus years.

About Larry Gilbert