Apparently the huge popularity of the newly opened Folsom light-rail line caught Regional Transit off guard, too. I know that nobody likes the backseat urban planning guy (especially when he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about), but I’d like to know how something as large as a commuter rail line gets completed without a clear picture of how it’s going to be used. Survey, anyone? Polling? Calling random numbers? Anything ringing a bell?
But from the picture of RT this article paints, I guess the lack of user sampling is not the biggest obstacle RT faces.
Last week, a consultant for the south line extension told an RT committee it now looks like capital costs for that extension will be $150 million – a whopping $38 million more than anticipated.
And that’s not the only project over budget. If the people at RT misplace their tickets, they might want to look up their collective ass.
Personally, I like Roger Dickinson’s suggestion for saving money; that “light-rail stations don’t have to be as nice as they are.” Benches? What’s wrong with standing or sitting on the concrete? Lights? Who needs ’em. (Actually, I haven’t been on RT in a while: do they have complementary adult beverages now? Flat screens?)
In addition he shares this tidbit:
RT might want to ask local city or county governments to kick in more money to get light-rail lines built, such as additional property taxes they earn if new development sprouts up around light-rail lines.
I got an idea: Let’s build a line straight toward the sun, and then just hope people start inhabiting tiny meteors, like The Little Prince, so they can hop on the flying RT. Come on, Sacramento: build stuff for people to use, like trains that go by where they actually live, not where people escaping million dollar mortgages might live in 2 years. (Or not.)
But I’m afraid that’s business as usual in Sacto. Here’s Heather Fargo on the downtown library from a few weeks ago: “as more residents move [into downtown], they will want to have access to the library downtown.” You know who else wants access to the library downtown? People who live downtown, right now. Let’s not forget about them. You know, the frickin people who voted for you and stuff.