But do the math. It’s scary even if the project would only cost the intitial $107 million capital expense plus $10 million (highly suspect) in operating costs every three years. But, I’ll use their numbers to be fair. And I’ll suppose two trains would support 200 commuters a day. Over a twenty-one year period, subtracting out weekends and a week’s worth of holidays, I pencil out the daily tax-payer subsidy to be $180. Yes, divide the costs by the passenger trips and the taxpayer is paying $180 a day per commuter so that a bunch of choo-choo loving liberals can have their toy.
I’m sure he’s wrong on about the ridership. You’d see a lot more than 200 people on each train, probably at least 500, especially by twenty-one years from now. On the other hand, he’s not counting the cost of acquiring the rails, which I guess is the same whether a train runs there or not.
Though at what ridership would you need to justify the capital cost? The $4.4 billion 520 replacement will carry at least 115,000 cars, and thus at least 57,500 commuters, each day. At that price it pencils out to $14 a commuter. U-Link will carry 90,000 riders at $1.75 billion, or about $4 per rider. Central Link’s cost is about $7. Cost effectiveness is an important argument for transit, and that’s one of the reasons Link Light rail is a no-brainer.
Eastside rail doesn’t seem to be nearly as much a slam dunk as the last two, but with a large enough base it could pencil out to be as effective as the 520 bridge at least.