Triangle Regional Rail? Blame Bush

For those who are not aware, which includes at least half the folks in the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Research Triangle Park, and the surrounding communities), the politicians want to build a regional rail system. Most people seem to be against the plan, including the Raleigh News and Observer, who has discussed the plan in negative terms many a time. With President Bush’s new budget, the federal money is officially gone.

Don’t expect to find money for the Triangle Transit Authority’s commuter rail system when details of the transportation budget are released today, said Rep. David Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill.

The Federal Transit Administration has questioned the TTA’s long-term predictions for traffic congestion, and the federal government won’t propose new money until that has been settled, Price said. The government gave the TTA $20 million this year, and Price said Congress could approve that much or more for next year if the T (story at the N&O cuts of there)

Is it just me, or does this look like a carefully veiled slap at W? The Feds have already stated that they would not pitch in the $650 million that the Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) for the light rail system. Future traffic patterns do not bear out the need for the system. Furthermore, the system will, at the best, shift traffic to other areas. More then likely, the system will be a taxpayer funded boondogle which no one will use.

Here is the official page regarding why the Triangle needs the rail system.

Here is the proposed map of the system.

Now, the basics of the system is to relieve the traffic on the Beltline (440) around Raleigh, and 40, between Raleigh and Durham, where most of the traffic is, as well as relieving much of the traffic on Hwy 70 between Raleigh and Durham. This also incorporates the traffic generated from Cary and Morrisville. What it doesn’t do is help the commuters from the towns south of Raleigh.

Those directly near the train might take it. The problem there is how do the get to their business from the station, and back after work. No one has answered that one. People living in the northern part of Raleigh who go that way are left out of the rail system. For instance, were I still working in Durham, I would have to either drive east to stations 14 or 15 to go northwest to Durham, or drive way into the heart of downtown Raleigh to catch a train. There is alot of traffic in the am. Furthermore, the downtown Raleigh stops are not where people are commuting from. I won’t bore you with all the data for this little section of the world. I would ask that you just take my word for it. The best comparison would be for people on the New Jersey shore driving halfway to New York City and catching the train there, rather then near home.

The layout doesn’t even incorporate Raleigh Durham International Airport yet. It is just a proposal.

If the TTA manages to build it, the people will not come. They will not ride. They will drive. And the government will have to subsidize the majority of the operations costs, ie, taxpayer money.

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5 Responses to “Triangle Regional Rail? Blame Bush”

  1. Ogre says:

    Light rail systems are a sham from beginning to end. Very, very, very few people will actually benefit from them. There is NO measurable reduction in pollution. They serve NO purpose other than to allow urban planners to take away property rights and force people to live where, when, and how THEY want you to live.

    Cost is no object. Convenience doesn’t enter into the equation. We have seen this all in Charlotte — cost overruns in the tens of billions of dollars — no problem. No one will use it — no problem. They will build it no matter what because they want to use it as a crutch to force high-density housing and to attempt to force people out of the suburbs.

    Road miles are infinitely better because EVERYONE benefits from more road miles, not just the people who use them.

  2. JulieB says:

    Well, that wasn’t the case in the L.A. Area. The new light rail has worked out quite well. It runs parallel, or sometimes down the center of many of the major freeways and is packed to the gills on almost all routes most runs during the day.
    BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit is in a similar state of use. There has been a rail extension from S.F. down to the S.F. Airport. They tried to stop it 1/2 mile away for some lame reason, but the end result was it’s there. Without BART S.F. would have total gridlock.

  3. The big issues are 2 fold. No one except the politicos really want the rail system, and the system doesn’t really do much to eliminate traffic. People are not going to walk a couple miles to work from the stations, nor are they going to drive in heavy traffic to the stations to get to work, having to leave even earlier. Now, if they had a system that would take into account better routes, they might get support. But, currently, it has a terrible route.

  4. Ding Dong the Boondoggles Gone

    It is with great joy and much fanfare that it seems that the Triangle Commuter Rail Boondoggle has been slain by budget cuts.


    Nobody would’ve ridden the thing anyway, for precisely the reasons that ol’ blackbeard points out.

  5. Amanda says:

    Hey, i’m doing a research paper on the Rail system for my C & E class right now and from what i’ve seen, i think its a great idea. I mean about half of the people serveyed in wake co. (getting this from the news and observer) said that they would ride the trains- and if they’re riding the rails then there is just that many less cars on the road , and i think that any less traffic right now would help.

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