LaHood announces over $200 million for Michigan rail projects… What does it mean?

lahoodA few days ago we discussed the fact that Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was scheduled to visit Michigan and make a big announcement concerning the funding of high-speed rail projects. Well, LaHood showed up as planned, and announced that a total of $2 billion in additional funding would be expended over the next several years, with over $200 million of it being spent here in Michigan. Here’s a clip from the Detroit Free Press:

Michigan will get $200 million to upgrade rail lines and a share of another $336 million for new high-performance trains and other equipment to build a high-speed rail network between Detroit and Chicago, the Obama administration announced today.

The federal government is awarding $2 billion to expand high-speed rail nationwide, money that Florida turned back earlier this year, and Michigan was one of 24 states competing for the funding. The U.S. Department of Transportation said 15 states and Amtrak will receive money for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects that the government said will connect 80% of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years…

As bad as things may get in MIchigan, I’m comforted to know that there are states like Florida, where there are even worse decisions being made. And it gives me a great deal of happiness knowing that we’ll now be receiving funds originally earmarked for them, and putting them to use building desperately needed infrastructure and putting our people to work. It also pleases me to know that, despite the issues that I have with our Governor, he, unlike his counterparts in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin, doesn’t instinctively yell “Socialism” when the idea of high speed rail is put before him. And I give him a lot of credit for that. I don’t know that this would have been the case if we’d elected someone more indebted to the Tea Party movement, like Mike Cox, for instance.

Instead of copying more from the Free Press article, on what this new funding announcement means for our region, I’d like to post a few notes by my friend Richard Murphy, who currently earns his living as a Mitten State mass transit analyst.

Secretary LaHood presented a Big Check to Governor Snyder yesterday at the Detroit Amtrak station, and the Governor made a strong statement in support of passenger rail travel. He said the funding would support “safer, faster, better” travel options for Michigan residents, and would drive economic development not only through the actual construction work, but by supporting development near the rail line – he referenced his own corporate experience to say that passenger rail is an important amenity for businesses’ locational decisions. (I know many here, including me, have some concerns about the Governor’s actions towards other amenities, but let’s not go too far into those.)

The majority of the funding announced in Detroit was for track and signal improvements on the Kalamazoo-Dearborn segment of the Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac corridor – this work alone is estimated to increase average speeds on the segment by 20-some miles per hour, cutting about 30 minutes off of current travel time, as well as reducing delays by an average of 12 minutes per trip.

However, that statement radically underestimates the benefits: those time savings are measured against *current* speeds, but the alternative to this funding is not staying at current speeds – it’s slowing down, substantially. Norfolk-Southern only runs about 8 trains per day on this corridor (compared to Amtrak’s 6), and nothing that’s time-critical. They’ve filed to reduce track speeds on large portions of this route to 25 mph, and on the rest to 60 mph. So this funding lets us improve the route and increase speeds rather than letting it continue to degrade to complete un-usability.

This funding is 100% Federal, no state matching funds required, and construction work will likely begin sometime next year, going into 2013-14.

Meanwhile, $268 million was allocated to the Midwest applicant coalition of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri to purchase new locomotives and rolling stock for those routes that would both address current issues with the equipment (A lot of the stock in use now are 40+ years old), as well as providing trains capable of running at higher future track speeds.

All of the high-speed rail funding includes Buy American requirements – you may recall that Spanish manufacturer Talgo was in the process of building a new manufacturing plant in Milwaukee until Governor Walker declined high-speed rail funds; I’ve not heard any announcement of where they’ll land instead.

Elsewhere in high-speed rail, work is underway on the south side of Chicago on the “Englewood Flyover” project, to construct a new bridge that would take one rail over another, rather than having them cross each other at ground level. This project will eliminate the single biggest source of delays on all of Michigan’s Amtrak lines – 140 trains cross each others’ paths here daily, including two freight carriers, Amtrak, and the Metra commuter line, and that number is growing, so intersection conflicts are frequent.

Michigan still has $161m in high-speed rail funding allocation sitting out there from previous funding rounds, which required a 20% State match (about $30m). I believe that some of yesterday’s funding replaces some of that amount (as a re-application for the same work at a higher % of funding), but not all of it. I’m still trying to determine a clear answer about what is in that proposal that’s not in the newly funded package, but I believe it includes a new switching track in Southwest Detroit, which would cut 10-15 minutes off the Dearborn-Detroit segment and be critical to establishing A2-Detroit commuter rail, as well as purchase of the track from Norfolk Southern.

But that wasn’t all… In hopes of heading off our local trolls at the pass, Murph also came forward with the following.

Finally, as far as the cost question goes, a little comparison so that we can keep track of the relative costs involved:

* the $200m announced yesterday would cut travel time (speed increase plus delay decrease) by about 40 minutes on a route that has ridership growing at almost 20% annually.

* commuter rail on the A2-Brighton-Howell corridor is estimated at $50m., a new travel option for north-south commuters to skip traffic and turn their commute into productive time.

* and, just for fun, providing rail service from Ann Arbor to Traverse City (yes, Traverse City) via Lansing is estimated to cost about $250m in construction costs.

For that same total cost, $500m, we could expand US-23 from 14 to 96 by one lane. This would neither reduce travel time by any significant amount, nor provide a new travel option, nor provide any other substantial benefits. Nor could we expect either construction nor maintenance to be paid for by the gas tax.

There’s a far-future project on the books to expand I-94 within the city of Detroit by a lane in each direction – 7 miles of work with an estimated cost of $3.2 Billion. So the three rail projects above would cost the same amount as one single mile of this highway project.

And yet some would like us to believe that rail is somehow “expensive”.

And, here, along similar lines, is a comment that Murph left a few days ago in response to some of our friendly neighborhood trolls, who were yelling about how train travel, unlike roads, has to be subsidized by the federal government. (It kind of shut them up.)

Just as a reminder:

* Roads are subsidized by everyone who owns property, everyone who has a job, everyone that buys things. Only 51% of road funding is paid for by the gas tax or tolls.

* This subsidization of roads happens at every level – the federal Highway Trust Fund has received $30B in subsidies from the nation’s general fund just since 2008, while, here in Ypsilanti, we pay about 3 mills in property tax for road projects.

* Not everybody drives – over a third of Americans don’t drive, due to age, ability, or income. These people still need to get to work, to school, to the doctor. Providing non-car options allows these people to participate in life and the economy.

* Providing a robust, multi-option transportation system allows those of us who can drive to have a choice – I’d rather spend $6 on a commuter rail fare to downtown Detroit (still one of the area’s major job centers) than the $8 in gas alone that the same trip would cost me right now. (Or the $30 in total driving costs, as figured at IRS rates.) Having multiple options protects working people from gas price shocks and helps them save money to spent on things like housing or food or education or entertainment – things that have a much higher return to the local economy than buying gasoline.

* Transit and rail have returns in cost-of-time: time spent driving is wasted on, well, driving. Time spent on a bus or train can be spent being productive. (This is why prominent right-wingers, like American Conservative magazine, support rail projects.)

Thank you, Murph. Your putting in the time to prepare this is very much appreciated.

[note: I know that by mentioning this I may very well make his guest columns less likely, but I sure would like it if I had an illustration of Murph to accompany his contributions here. Wouldn’t if be cool if, for instance, we had a nice illustration of Murph wearing a conductor’s cap that we could use to call out these pieces? I wish I had the budget to commission stuff like that.]

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  1. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    “Murph” is quoted as saying “over a third of Americans don’t drive, due to age.” Five year olds don’t drive so we need to spend two billion of our dollars for trains??? Have you ever heard of carseats? They work good for getting children places. Their parents take them! Do you see how “facts” are twisted to make you think it’s okay that YOUR money is being taken to fund TRACK IMPROVEMENTS for freight trains? How can you not “get it”? If “Murph” is fudging that how can you not believe he is fudging all the “math”?

    I TRY to find the good in people. I THOUGHT I could talk with people who disagreed. I have NEVER used profanity or personnel insults with what I said. Many “liberal” commentators here have “greeted” me with insults and attacks. “Liberals” like to white wash Constitutional Conservatives as the angry” “party of hate”. Well look in the mirror and talk to the mirror! You are vanity and I will leave “you” alone.

    Mick Charde

    P.S. Of all in this “forum” I do respect TeacherPatti. Although she is a liberal I don’t want to dump her into the lot of hate. For EOS Godspeed and LIBERTY FOR ALL!

  2. ypsi1313
    Posted May 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks very much for Murph. He actually knows what he’s talking about, and is much needed amongst the noise.

  3. Edward
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Is that it, Boy O? Was this post your Kryptonite? I don’t see any insults in it. I just see facts. Is that what you’re objecting to?

  4. JSam
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Wow, Great information, Murph!
    I’m a train traveler primarily because I am a believer that we should enjoy our journey as much as our destination….and Amtrak does that for me.
    All of this information helps a lot, Murph.
    All aboard!!

  5. EOS
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Where you see facts, we see extreme bias. No one mentioned anything about how roads aren’t subsidized. Right wingers support rail projects in highly populated urban areas, not in the sparsely populated Midwest where ridership numbers in the hundreds and routes aren’t amenable to commuting.

    Murph is paid to promote Mass Transit. If you want to believe his statements that being dependent on a infrequent train schedule is time efficient then you won’t be persuaded by reason. I agree with Boy O Boy latest post. That someone doesn’t drive doesn’t necessitate that we spend billions of dollars on trains. They can certainly ride in cars.

    I posted numbers from the Free Press concerning how expensive this limited train service will be. Murph responded with numbers about how expensive roads are. Yes they are expensive and trains will do nothing to eliminate that expense. If the trains did lead to an increase in business and population, then more will need to be spent on roads as well. The problem is a significant amount of the roads in Michigan are in a state of disrepair and we can’t afford to maintain them today. How logical is it to add infrastructure costs at a time when we are unable to afford current infrastructure costs?

    I am not a troll. I am an individual who backs personal views with logical reasons. Calling me names doesn’t contribute to meaningful discussion. But meaningful discussion has never been the objective of progressives, has it?

  6. cmadler
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    “Wouldn’t if be cool if, for instance, we had a nice illustration of Murph wearing a conductor’s cap that we could use to illustrate these pieces?”

    In the spirit of pencil paparazzi, I think this should be hand-drawn.

  7. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    EOS, did you just ignore the part where Murph stated that only 51% of road costs are covered by gas tax and the rest is subsidized by the government, or did you just choose to ignore it?

    If you could, please also point out a successful, prosperous metropolitan area without public transportation, including rail? I’ve never really seen a metro area without public transit outside of Michigan or Ohio, and I’m not aware that we currently have any successful or prosperous metro areas. A metro area, in case you wondered, includes a large city (like Detroit) and its surrounding suburbs.

  8. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Ooops. That should have read “did you just miss the part”…

  9. EOS
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink


    I ignored it because it isn’t relevant. I never argued that the government doesn’t spend money for roads. I am aware that it is a very large governmental expense. I just pointed out that having the additional expense of trains will in no way diminish the amount of money that has to be spent on roads.

    I think you are putting the cart before the horse. Once there is a densely populated metro area, mass transit becomes cost effective. Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C. all have great systems. Murph and his allies promote mass transit as a means to making a densely populated metro area. It is cost prohibitive to put in mass transit systems before there is sufficient population to sustain them. My view is that many people choose to live here because it isn’t a densely populated urban environment for the most part. Should it approach that level of population, many would choose to leave for a less dense environment. It will likely be a long time before mass transit is an affordable option for the majority in the Midwest.

  10. Glen S.
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    @ EOS

    In many cases, dense, urban development follows the the growth of public transportation — not the other way around.

    This was true long ago, in cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia — as growth surrounding these expanding cities followed existing streetcar (and later, subway) lines outward.

    It has also been true more recently, in cities like Portland, where carefully-planned, publicly-funded transit has been a catalyst for substantial new “infill” development — in lieu of additional suburban sprawl.

  11. Andy1313
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Former Republican congressman and current Transportation Secretary references EOS and Boy O:

    “America is ready for high-speed rail. *There may be a few people who aren’t*, but the vast majority of Americans are. We had two billion dollars [to distribute], over ten billion dollars worth of requests, we had over 100 applications. High-speed rail is coming to America. Nothing can stand in the way of it.” – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

  12. Anonymatt
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    You don’t seem to have much faith in your own artistic talents for this issue.

  13. John Galt
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I like the conductor’s cap. I’m also imagining lots of chest hair, and a tight-fitting pair of overalls.

  14. fleursmaintenant
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    thanks for the breakdown of what’s involved in this project, murph!

  15. Kim
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The people of Florida are completely fucked, and it goes well beyond trains. I guess that’s what happens when you elect a criminal to be your governor.

  16. EOS
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    The steetcars, (and later subways) were built to accommodate the population density. That future expansion followed the transportation lines is to be expected, because space in the inner city was limited. But the pressure to expand pre-existed prior to the implementation of the mass transit that accelerated it. That’s not the case in Detroit, where the population has been in decline for the past 40 years.

    As for Portland, the catalyst for infill has to be attributed mainly to its enactment of the “urban growth boundary law”. This law requires high density development in urban areas and prohibits development in surrounding land by denying utilities. By forcing the majority to infill the urban center, the resulting population density can be served by mass transit.

    Do you think these trains will be sufficient to re-populate Detroit? Would a highly populated metropolitan area that spans from Detroit to Lansing be a desirable outcome in your mind?

  17. Mr. X
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    That’s the best you’ve got, Boy O? With all that content, the only place you could find to dig in and wage your heroic last stand was Murph’s comment about a third of Americas not driving? No wonder you decided to give up.

  18. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Hey you guys! I just got back from a WONDERFUL Amtrak experience. As Murph and any of my FB friends probably know, I am not the first one to embrace public transportation just because a) I love driving, b) I grew up in the ‘burbs and the stigma of public transportation was drilled into me from an early age and c) I am generally a pain in the ass. But today, I caught the 6:48am train (only about 10 minutes late) in Detroit to take 3 of our middle school girls over to Kzoo for sports camp at WMU. Everyone was super nice and friendly, esp. the employee who helped us off the train (me + 3 girls, 2 of whom are Braille readers + their 20,000 pieces of luggage–you would think they were going to live there for a year). The train back to the D was only about 2 minutes behind schedule and the conductors could not have been more welcoming and pleasant. I had a lovely nap on the way back, too, which is always nice.
    So yeah, if we can hook up something like this, I”d be delighted. Now I would still somehow want my car b/c I would not want to bus/walk from the train depot to my schoo, but that could possibly be worked around. Anyway just wanted to say that I was wrong about the train system being wonky. Not the first mistake I made, not even the millionth and certainly not the last unless I die in the next 30 seconds.

  19. Brandon
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    The early streetcar lines were not built to serve an existing population.

    They were built as part of land speculation. The trolley companies owned the land adjacent the routes. They built the tracks to sell the land to subdividers for homes and businesses.

    They largely made their money on the land deals. The fact that they would be on the hook to run a trolley was largely secondary.

    Now, in the modern area, building transit has incentivized denser development. Portland, Ore. has been successful in increasing density where it has built transit. Transit has also incentivized private investment. One trolley line in downtown Portland, for instance, cost $100 million to build. Private investors poured $3.5 billion into adjoining properties to rehab, redevelop and develop them.

  20. EOS
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Brandon and Glen,

    You both have made good points. I can see that building mass transit can lead to denser development in many instances and I dismissed that too quickly. Still, I think there are better ways to spend such large sums of tax dollars. It’s not my goal to live in a highly populated urban environment , and I think many others would agree.

  21. Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    EOS –

    I mentioned to someone the other day that I grew up in farmland, and one of the reasons I choose to live in an urban environment is because I love rural landscapes. Not being a farmer, the one best thing I can do to preserve those landscapes for my children to enjoy is to not live there. (I also, conveniently, love urban neighborhoods, where the best thing I can do for them is to live in them. Win-win.)

    I think you’ve mentioned before that you live in the southern part of Ypsi Township, and that, as it gets more developed, you’ll move. Am I right on that? For one, I don’t think that your attitudes here are any surprise, and, for two, I don’t think you have anything to fear here–a commuter rail stop in Depot Town and high-speed rail service stopping in Ann Arbor is more likely to divert development from your area, preserving the lifestyle you want to live in, to the areas in proximity to the stations.

    Some people, like you, find a more outlying residence to be preferable. Others (like me, Glen, Brandon, and Andrew, at the least, judging by what I know of their locations of residence) prefer a more central location with access to a broad choice of destinations and transportation options. I’m glad you’re in agreement that rail service is likely to attract economic development interest (most of the real estate professionals I know agree), but it’s interest that happens in a concentrated area around rail stations.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that I promote transit as a means to a “densely populated metro area” – that’s kind of silly, as far as end goals go. So what, right? I’ll state my goal as creating a variety of choices of places for people to live and ways to get around. One of those choices is low-density residential development dependent on automobile travel, which provides space, privacy, etc. Another choice is more urban neighborhoods that allow you to live close to a lot of amenities and get around without being forced into a car. We’ve spent the last 60 years of public policy favoring and subsidizing the exurban end of this spectrum–I choose to work in roles that support the more urban end because it’s the piece that’s been tragically neglected.

  22. Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Also, EOS, since you’ve decided that subsidies that support your lifestyle are valid without any explanation, but want numbers for things that benefit other people–

    In 2009, MDOT commissioned GVSU’s College of Business to do a study on the economic benefits of passenger rail stations to Michigan communities. (Excluding regional or state-wide benefits such as reduced congestion, cleaner air, etc.)

    Their conclusion:

    The 22 Michigan communities with Amtrak stations receive $62 million annually in quantifiable benefits attributable to passenger rail service. These benefits are summarized below for each of the three corridors. It is important to state that these represent quantifiable benefits attributable only to the local communities. Additional benefits more difficult to quantify relate to how the existence of passenger rail service in a community enhances its image as a place to live and do business. Significant additional benefits also accrue to the region and the state related to traffic congestion relief, safety, energy conservation, and air quality improvement. These benefits are substantial and research for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) indicates that safety and vehicle emission costs alone amounted to $.07 per vehicle mile in 1999. It is important to emphasize that these and other macro level benefits must be included in any consideration of the overall value of Amtrak service.

    So, a conservative accounting suggests that the $8 million Michigan spends on Amtrak operations every year produces $62 million in measurable economic benefits to the State. Not too shabby.

    They note further that these benefits are, “even though service is very limited with only a single daily round trip provided to half of Michigan’s stations. This severely limits the potential for economic development impacts,” and suggest that improved service would make the return even better.

  23. EOS
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    A few points of clarification Murph.

    The subsidies for roads benefit anyone who chooses train travel equally as much as me. The subsidies for roads are a necessity and benefit everyone, whether on not they choose to drive on them personally. They will still need to drive/ride to the train stations for the foreseeable future. Goods will still need to be delivered to stores and factories. It’s not autos/trucks OR trains, it’s auto’s/trucks AND trains.

    “I’m glad you’re in agreement that rail service is likely to attract economic development interest.” I didn’t say that and I don’t believe that is likely in many areas. For instance, people will not flock to Detroit because they add a few commuter trains. I said trains could lead to denser development, but it certainly depends on those areas and what other attractions they have.

    High density housing and long commutes on mass transit are exactly what SEMCOG has in mind for my neighborhood. For example, today someone could live on a rural farm in the southern end of the township, yet drive to employment in Ann Arbor in 30 – 40 minutes. First, they are eliminating many parking options and making the few remaining cost prohibitive. A commuter train stop in Ypsi would be combined with bus service to outlying areas. Soon thereafter, the commute will require a bus ride to downtown Ypsi, to meet up with a train ride to Ann Arbor, to then transfer to another bus or two to get to the final destination. It’s conceivable that a current 1 hour round trip commute will become 4 hours. This will drive up the cost of housing and rentals in the city and benefit a select few, to the detriment of the majority.

    And, since the imposition of rail service needs higher populations to make it sustainable, the population growth will take place, for the most part, in the outlying townships. There is a limited capacity for more housing in either Ann Arbor or Ypsi cities. You’ll have to drive west of Chelsea, north of Flint, or further, to find any farmland to show your children. Your goal of a densely populated urban area will eliminate my low-density residential development. And yes, before it reaches that point, I will move further out.

  24. Alan
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    To emphasize in advance: the following is about HIGH SPEED
    trains — a different animal than conventional trains (existing
    Amtrak service). These points DO NOT APPLY to conventional
    train service, which is in desperate need of aggressive development,
    restoration, expansion and general support, IMO. These points
    apply only to the gee-whiz/high-tech/high-speed baloney, which is
    being widely touted as a great thing.

    Now, having said that… (I recommend you read the whole article
    at the link):
    High-Speed Pork
    Why fast trains are a waste of money.
    By Robert J Samuelson
    October 29, 2010
    Somehow, it has become fashionable to think that high-speed
    trains connecting major cities will help “save the planet.”
    They won’t. They’re a perfect example of wasteful spending
    masquerading as a respectable social cause. They would further
    burden already-overburdened governments and drain dollars from
    worthier programs–schools, defense, research.
    Obama calls high-speed rail essential “infrastructure” when
    it’s actually old-fashioned “pork barrel.” The interesting
    question is why it retains its intellectual respectability.
    The answer, it seems, is willful ignorance. People prefer
    fashionable make-believe to distasteful realities. They imagine
    public benefits that don’t exist and ignore costs that do.
    High-speed rail would subsidize a tiny group of travelers and
    do little else. If states want these projects, they should pay
    all costs because there are no meaningful national gains. The
    administration’s championing and subsidies–with money that
    worsens long-term budget deficits–represent short-sighted,
    thoughtless government at its worst.

  25. Posted May 13, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    EOS – I think we can agree that we are on fundamentally different pages.

    Where I see transit as offering new options and choices for people who need or want them, you see it as taking away choices. You will call new transit options social engineering, and “forcing” people to take a train or bus, while I call the current pattern of massive subsidies for roads and low-density edge development the social engineering, and see support for trains and buses, downtowns and near-downtown neighborhoods as undoing that forced non-choice.

  26. EOS
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Yes, we do see things from far different perspectives. Having the free choice to live in an urban environment with multiple transit options or living in the suburbs or country and being “forced to drive”, I have chosen the latter. It is not engineered by government. Privately owned firms build houses and subdivisions at the locations where people want to live and where they can sell them at a profit. In the last 200 years, the dream of most Americans has been to be able to afford a non-urban home. If transit were a priority for me, I would live on the East Coast. I enjoy driving and I enjoy the freedom it gives me to go where I want, when I want.

  27. Andy Cameron
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    EOS, what you seem to fail to understand is that you only have that free choice because the rest of us are subsidizing the low density living you prefer by building/maintaining infrastructure for relatively few people. It’s not as cost effective (benefits of spending enjoyed by many fewer people) as developing infrastructure in denser areas.

    The only way private firms can develop in these areas is if the public builds and maintains the roads to get to the developments. Many of us don’t really want to pay for roads that benefit relatively few people (I’m sure you get the part of the argument where we don’t want to pay for something we don’t use). I’m sure Murph can provide a much better explanation.

  28. EOS
    Posted May 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Bottom line is that the choice isn’t between roads or rails, but whether we have roads alone or both roads and rails.

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