This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

The L.A. Times looks at the vaunted Denver light rail system. One of Denver’s suburban mayors is surprisingly candid:

Cal Marsella, the general manager of the Regional Transportation District, which is building FasTracks, can readily tick off travel times he uses to sell people on the program.

In 2025, for example, he says the drive from the airport to downtown will take 48 minutes by car and 39 minutes on the train, and the drive from Longmont — a far northern suburb — to Denver will take 133 minutes by car versus 61 minutes by train.

Politicians make much the same arguments.

“We frame this as giving people a choice,” said Steve Burkholder, the mayor of suburban Lakewood, which will get rail service as part of FasTracks. “Will this take cars off the road? I doubt it. As you grow as an area, congestion will grow.” [emphasis added]

Exactly. Congestion is here to stay, but it’s important to give people real choices. In 20 years, traffic in Seattle will be terrible. Like LA-style terrible. Imagine rush hour on I-5 or I-405 for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we don’t start building now, we’re gonna be seriously screwed.