light rail

Problems in the Orange County Grand Jury Light Rail Report

Earlier this month (May 9, 2016) the Orange County (California) Grand Jury issued a report entitled: “Light Rail: Is Orange County on the Right Track,” which is on the Grand Jury website here. The report largely concludes that it is not and that there is a need for a light rail system in Orange County.  read more »

Honolulu Rail: It Just Keeps Getting Worse

There seems to be no end to the difficulties facing Honolulu’s urban rail project. In an editorial, Honolulu’s Civil Beat noted that federal officials fear the project cost may reach $8.1 billion, which is more than 50 percent above the “original estimate” of $5.2 billion. The cost blowout of nearly $3 billion would be far more than state consultants suggested in a 2010 report.  read more »

Sources for Our "Southern California Stuck in Drive" Story

Joel Kotkin and I wrote in the Orange County Register that transit work trip market shares in the Los Angeles area had changed little, from 5.9 percent in 1980 to 5.8 percent in 2013. In a response, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACTMTA) noted that we did not cite sources. Fair enough. Our source was the 1980 US Census and the 2013 American Community Survey, a product of the United States Census Bureau.  read more »

Portland Light Rail Revolt Continues

In a hard fought election campaign, voters in the city of Tigard appear to have narrowly enacted another barrier to light rail expansion in suburban Portland. The Washington County Elections Division reported that with 100 percent of precincts counted, Charter Amendment 34-210 had obtained 51 percent of the vote, compared to 49 percent opposed.  read more »

Election: "Stop Portland Creep" Resonates in Suburbs

Election results from all three of Portland, Oregon's largest suburban counties indicate a reaction against what has been called "Portland Creep," the expansion of the expansive light rail system without voter approval and the imposition of restrictive densification measures by Metro, the regional land-use agency.  read more »

Honolulu Rail Project Legal Problems Mount

According to the Hawaii Reporter, Honolulu's rail transit project has lost a major legal test in The Federal Ninth Circuit Court, as Judge Wallace Tashima ruled in  HonoluluTraffic.com v. Federal Transit Administration et al  read more »

Federal Transit Administration Weighs In on Honolulu Mayor's Race

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has intervened in the Honolulu Mayor's race against challenger and former Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano. Governor Cayetano and Mayor Peter Carlisle are locked in a bitter contest that could determine whether the proposed $5.1 billion rail line is built. Mayor Carlisle is a strong supporter of the rail line. Challenger Cayetano has promised to "pull the plug" on the rail system. Recent polls show that the project's former thin majority support among Honolulu residents has now turned to opposition.  read more »

The 30th Anniversary of the C-Train in Calgary

I’ve spent a good chunk of the last few months working on a study of Calgary’s light rail transit (C-Train) system, which was released today by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.  I’ve had a long standing interest in LRT systems, and spent the summer of 2009 working for the Cascade Policy Institute in Oregon, where we compiled massive amounts of data on their world renowned LRT system as part of an ongoing project.  read more »

The Real Answer to Houston's Traffic Congestion

The Houston Chronicle editorial board recently argued that light rail is key to combating Houston's traffic congestion problems. But if you look at the three cities with worse traffic congestion than Houston - DC, Chicago, and LA - they have much more transit, including tons of light rail in LA. Transit clearly hasn't solved the problem in these cities. These people aren't stuck in that traffic because they like it - it's because the transit doesn't go where they need to go or isn't timely.  read more »

Brookings Economist Decries Transit Subsidies, Calls For Privatization

In his new book, Last Exit: Privatization and Deregulation of the U.S. Transportation System, Brookings Institution economist Clifford Winston contends that transit subsidies are largely the result of labor productivity losses, inefficient operations and counterproductive federal regulations.  read more »