Light rail: Always cost overruns, underused


Recently, The Citizen published a letter from state Representative Virgil Fludd regarding Georgia’s transportation issues. Mr. Fludd took the opportunity to propose yet another expensive boondoggle that only government can suggest.

Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results. Clearly, anyone who has studied the history of light rail understands this is insanity.

Every metro area in the U.S. that has built one of these monstrosities has experienced massive cost overruns and ridership significantly below projections.

Here are some basic facts; Americans love their cars and they dislike mass transit, therefore the vast majority would rather sit in traffic and complain about it than to take a bus or train even if it were convenient to do so.

Unlike Ray Kinsella, we can build it but they won’t come. Look at the cities with light rail systems; all of them have traffic that is as bad or worse than Atlanta.

Bad traffic is a fact of life in a major metro area, so you either learn to accept it or you adapt your work schedule around it or you’ll stress out.

Yet, Mr. Fludd said, “All Georgia had to do was raise $15 million to receive our fair share of the federal money.”

This in the midst of tough economic times. Where should we take that $15 million from — our teachers yet again?

The only folks who think of $15 million as pocket change are billionaires and folks who spend other people’s money (like politicians).

Why is it that state politicians always look to the feds to fund their pet projects? Government is a highly inefficient way to accomplish nearly anything. If the idea of light rail is so great, why aren’t private companies proposing to build and operate these systems?

Mr. Fludd goes on to complain that the Republicans only know how to say “No.” Well, maybe that’s because they don’t agree with any of Mr. Fludd’s ideas. Has he said “Yes” to any of their ideas?

It’s time to stop with the partisan bickering, and wake up to the reality that government cannot solve every problem. You can’t build enough roads, and folks don’t like mass transit. Government can’t “fix” that.

It’s time for politicians to play it straight with the people and tell them that government is not always the answer.

Mike Taylor

Peachtree City, Ga.