Arizona Republic: “Valley rail planners are asking a million-dollar question: Would south Phoenix residents ride a light-rail line enough to justify building one? Valley Metro, the agency that built and runs the 20-mile starter light-rail line, is weeks away from picking a consultant to provide the answer. Armed with a $400,000 congressional earmark and $100,000 from the city of Phoenix, Metro expects to hire a consultant by March and spend 18 months figuring out if spending many millions of dollars on a rail line in south Phoenix makes sense.”
The twenty mile long Phoenix – Tempe – Mesa light rail cost over $1 billion dollars to build. The story inconveniently fails to mention the cost to build light rail in south Phoenix or the amount of the annual multi-billion dollar subsidy Phoenix would incur if the light rail were extended into south Phoenix. When will people stop spending money our governments do not have?
Half a million dollars to do a study! Earmark money! I’ll save the city money and do the study for only $250,000. Here’s a free summary of my findings – don’t do it because rail is a perpetual black hole money loser for government. Phoenix and the federal government are bankrupt and don’t have the money to build or maintain rail. Rail might make sense if it could make a profit, not when it loses money every time it accepts a passenger. Read “Government-Run Rail System Losing $32 per Passenger, Study Shows.”
“It is a fact that no nationwide passenger rail system anywhere in the world is considered profitable when all costs — including capital — are accounted for,” . . . “Amtrak released a study in April to demonstrate that Europe’s system is heavily subsidized. Germany’s high-speed rail network, the most expensive in Europe, required average annual subsidies of $11.6 billion during the 10-year span that ended in 2006, according to the Amtrak study.”