The typical “green” position is to favor transit, especially rail transit, in all circumstances. But Cascadia’s long-term prospects depend on spending public dollars as efficiently as possible, which means supporting judicious, cost-effective investments in public transit. One worrisome example of ill-guided spending on transit is Sounder’s north commuter line, which connects Seattle with Everett. The full taxpayer cost per rider is in the hundreds of dollars per trip-money that would be better spent on making compact neighborhoods more livable through improved parks, schools, and police protection; enhanced express bus service; painting HOV lanes on arterials; expanded pedestrian infrastructure; or even subsidizing bicycle commuters, vanpoolers, and carpoolers. A similar example of rail not always being the answer is from Vancouver, B.C., where regional authorities are rushing forward to build a train from downtown to the airport. The project is even opposed by Vancouver’s leading sustainable transport advocacy organization.
This article was written 19+ years ago
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