Monday, August 5, 2013

Politicians LOVE Light Rail & the Graft it Enables!

Light rail boondoggles fail repeatedly but politicians repeatedly approve light rail projects.  Why do we repeatedly spend money on a "solution" that won't solve the problem?

Graft.  G-R-A-F-T.  Graft for politicians and their cronies, be they capitalist cronies or socialist cronies.  The level of graft associated with these projects will blow your mind.  Below are a few links that prove the point. 

First, let's get in the way back machine and take a peek at a 2006 study authored by Cato Institute titled, A Desire named Street Car:  How Federal Subsidies Encourage Wasteful Public Transit, and the money quote from the study:
A transit agency that expands its bus fleet gets the support of the transit operators union. But an agency that builds a rail line gets the support of construction companies, construction unions, banks and bond dealers, railcar manufacturers, electric power companies (if the railcars are electric powered), downtown property owners, and other real estate interests. Rail may be a negative-sum game for the region as a whole, but those concentrated interests stand to gain a lot at a relatively small expense to everyone else.
The elegance of the scam is highly relevant to advocates of BIM & IPD because it represents an instance in which a wide variety of stakeholders are incentivized to pursue a common goal.  Unfortunately, the incentive is just money, and it comes out of the tax payer / owner's pocket.  The model is not ideal because no rational owner would agree to such a boondoggle.  But it is, apparently, repeatable because government owners and the corrupt politicians who make decisions for them are not rational owners. 

Next, take a look at this video from Reason TV explaining the problem in the context of the light rail system underway in Hawaii.

Owners that consume planning design and construction services on a grand scale - like transportation departments - should reverse engineer the incentive mechanisms found in the light rail system and to establish plans for efficient transportation solutions that bring these same stakeholders to the table around positive rather than negative incentives and goals.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
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Office 513-721-5672
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1 comment:

kryzstoff said...

light rail may be expensive, and for a small, decentralised population it is clearly a fairly big cost for the residents of Hawaii, even though very few will benefit. however, there can be no doubt it will be extremely well patronised, given Honolulu's huge tourism industry, and the flow-on benefits will probably reap rewards in the longer-term. the environmental credentials are debatable, but electric-powered transport is always able to be run on either cleanest or the cheapest energy available, which is not a option available to ICE-powered vehicles like buses.
no transport system can work on the merits of a single option even in the smallest, poorest cities and Honolulu is no different - they need to invest in other options such as improved road quality and introduce bus and bicycle lanes to boost efficiency of their small but busy network. however, mindlessly making roads wider and wider is not a solution and it does not work anywhere in the world.