The Military Budget as Cookies

This excellent animation from TrueMajority shows in graphic detail (using Oreo cookies) how ridiculously, large the military budget is, and how we could solve many domestic problems with a modest 12% cut. A must-see. (watch it now)

How to Not Get
Hit by Cars

An illustrated guide for bicyclists. Might save your life.

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Cheap Airfares

How to find the
Cheapest Airfare

Everything you wanna know.

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Battery Guide

Which battery is best? We cover rechargeable and alkaline batteries to show you what's hot, what's not, and the best way to charge them. (visit now)

(Back to Light Rail page)
Here's another letter to the 'Statesman' (below) attacking Capital Metro and light rail. A short rebutal follows.
 

Transit Choice
Letter appearing in the Austin American-Statesman, June 16, 2000
 
On June 5, the American-Statesman ran an editorial on transit featuring William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association ("Rallying the U.S. for rail (and buses)").
 
In the last paragraph Millar stated: ". . . What transit is all about really is choice. It's allowing people to have true choice in how they travel. There's absolutely nothing wrong with continuing to drive your car. . ."
 
I'm certainly glad to hear Millar say this and hope that he spoke for Capital Metro. I would like Cap Metro to furnish me with a Lexus. This would be my choice, and probably the choice of many others; if so, rail will not be required.
 
ROBERT P. GERSTENBERG
Austin
 

Brief rebuttal by LRP:
While taxpayers will not buy Gerstenberg a Lexus, they have already bought him the freeways, streets, roads, and highways on which to drive it and the downtown parking spaces in which to park it. They also pay for the maintenance and traffic control necessary to operate all those Lexuses, Geos, and 18-wheelers.
 
Thus, taxpayers have given Gerstenberg a choice. It's only fair to give others the choice to ride buses or light rail if they so desire.

Rebuttal by a transportation engineer on the East cost: The old addage about buying all transit riders a Cadillac to save money by shutting down the transit system has been around for forty years. Commuter rallroads first made the offer to get out of the business. Under current policies, commuter railroads are thriving but under different management.
 
The truth is that light rail is much less costly than either Cadillacs or Chevys. Consider:
 
The Chevy will cost about 25 cents per passenger-mile (average peak hour occupancy 1.15) to buy, including opportunity cost (debt service). It will cost about seven cents/pm [passenger-mile] for insurance and eight cents for gaoline at normal prices. Add two cents for oil changes, two cents for tire replacement, two cents for repairs, a penny for deductables on insurance, two cents for incidentals and it costs 49 cents per passenger-mile. Auto club (AAA) data will confirm this. So with US DOT data.
 
WAIT, there is more. We have to park the stallion and find a road to drive on. In addition to user charges included above, 16 cents is needed to subsidize the roads and anywhere from ten cents to fifty cents for parking, depending upon where it is. Even free parking costs somebody. It is a subsidy. Real, honest auto costs are fifty to 100 percent higher than transit costs.
 
Light rail averages 35 cents per passenger-mile outside of subways, plus about 20 cents for capital recovery (amortzation of investment) so it absolutely saves money for everyone, rider or not.
Back to Light Rail page





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