Anthony Foxx, via City of Charlotte

Late last month, President Obama nominated Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx to fill the void that will be created by retiring Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  First, I think it’s appropriate to give credit where it’s due.  Although Secretary LaHood wasn’t the perfect progressive pro-transit stalwart, he was still a staunch advocate of transportation choices and likely instrumental in preventing MAP-21 from turning into the transit disaster it could have become.

Moving on, however, I think it’s safe to say that few out there would make a better successor than Foxx.  During his tenure as mayor of Charlotte, Foxx has been an outspoken proponent of expanding the LYNX light rail system, building a new streetcar line, and focusing development and planning efforts in downtown Charlotte.  It’s a track record that closely aligns with STB values.

Lastly, any reasonable transit advocate will probably appreciate the comments that Foxx made at his confirmation hearing on Thursday:

Foxx, who grew up in poverty in Charlotte, recalled riding the bus to get to his first job at a local museum when he was 12 years old.

“The Number 6 connected me to the larger world of opportunity, and I truly believe, whether it is a bus route, a road, a train, a plane or a ship, our transportation system at its best connects people to jobs and a better quality of life,” Foxx he told senators.

41 Replies to “Obama’s Nominee for Next USDOT Secretary”

  1. 1.5miles… operates with the same speed as a bus… They said the project will spark economic development… said the streetcar can bolster the tax base in older, less affluent neighborhoods.

    Oh, goodie, the 5mph Development Fairy Such a sound basis for national transit policy and urban development.

    Now we can be a nation of Portland CLs and SLUTs. Pretty…vacant.

    1. D.P., I’m pretty sure the SLUT has actually paid for itself at this point. Considering all the increased values along the line, my guess would be that its aid in catalyzing development in the area has more than paid for itself. I mean, the sale of the amazon complex brought in 1/5th of the city’s cost on its own. + The operations are funded partially privately too because the companies down there see use in it. How many bus routes in Seattle are partially privately financed?

      1. That development, like development in the Pearl, was already predetermined.

        But if you want to let the traffic-logged feather in Paul Allen’s cap confuse you about “cause” and “effect”, who am I to stop you. Or McGinn. Or Portland or Charlotte. Or about a half-dozen other dumbass cities that now have shiny rails and very slow trains running empty past brownfields.

        In 20 years, the Streetcar Revival era will be looked upon with the same bewilderment as 1960s Urban Renewal disasters.

      2. 4-5000/day ≠ empty trains. for a line that only goes 1.4 miles, that pretty insanely high ridership actually.
        3500 ppl per mile is no small amount. The Rapid transit L in Chicago only carries 6500 ppl/route mile, so really that’s not bad. Link Carries about 2000 per mile, Rapid Ride A carries about 800 per mile.

        I don’t think all of the development in that neighborhood is due to the streetcar, I’m not delusional, but I’d be willing to bet there is a respectable amount of what’s going on because of it. Not a majority, but enough to make it worthwhile, Adding to that, a lot of it wasn’t paid for with public money, which is all the better. We got public transit and only had to pay for about half of it, and the other half was paid for by the district the streetcar serves only IIRC.

      3. Alex, I think d.p. is being too pessimistic about the streetcar, but I also should point out that measuring anything in per-mile terms gives you results that don’t make much sense. Measuring passenger and trip numbers is a lot more sensible, and gives you the right perspective about the streetcar — that, while it’s not doing badly for a line of its very short length, it’s not nearly the critical transportation investment that something like Link is, and it’s not even as effective as a really heavy bus line like the express portion of the 70s or the 358.

        I do think that the streetcars accelerate development, although perhaps d.p. is right in the longer sense that such development is based more on perception than any reality of improved transportation, and may be seen in the long run to have been silly. (For example, the north end of the Pearl was not going anywhere before the streetcar came in, and has developed a lot since.) But the biggest problem with streetcars to date is that we don’t take any steps to improve their speed and reliability! Stops are too close together, they have little or no TSP, and the routing choices are sometimes just nonsensical.

      4. I wonder how well traveled a RapidRide trolley system would have been? 60′ buses with 3 (or maybe even 4?) doors, off bus payment, TSP, open seating… For the cost of the Streetcars, they probably could have run wire all the way to the UW. What could have been…

      5. Velo, I fervently hope we find out in the Madison corridor. Madison BRT, if done right, is about the best possible scenario for BRT using existing right-of-way in a dense city. I’m eager to see how well it can be made to work.

      6. If the streetcar didn’t accelerate development, why was the developer so eager to get it installed and saw it as a selling point?

      7. Perhaps because even very wealthy, very powerful people can be suckers for drawings on easels, and can be prone to confusing correlation with causality.

        Why don’t you ask the developers of the comically vacant luxury towers in Portland’s totally-devoid-of-life South Waterfront whether they were able to replicate the Pearl’s success just by replicating its streetcar?

      8. Given they can operate on very steep hills like First, don’t they challenge the necessity of costly tunneling?

      9. Alex and Mike:

        Take a field trip on the Portland Streetcar’s tour of literally every side street in the Lloyd District. Stay on for the full 40-minute ride to the mini-storage warehouses of the Inner East (which are seconds from downtown by bus). You’ll almost certainly be the only one on your train for most of the trip.

        When I say “empty”, I mean empty!

      10. OK, I guess I have to make myself a target for d.p.’s scorn and nasty comments again. Not fun.

        However, twice in the past month I’ve ridden the east side of the CL line and been actually surprised by the number of folks on it. The first time I rode from Library all the way around to OMSI and then back to the Convention Center to catch the Yellow Line. Obviously, there were plenty of folks on the west side portion, but at least a half dozen turned the corner at Lovejoy and rode across the Broadway Bridge. There wasn’t much action along Weidler but once we turned folks started getting on in a steady stream all the way to about Burnside. By the time we left the station there the car was nearly full.

        People of course trickled off as we went south, and by the time we got to OMSI there were only five of us who got off.

        While I waited for the car to reverse five (I think) other folks came, so when we started back there was a bit of a load. Not so many folks got on as had gotten off on the southbound run, but by the time I got off at Holladay to walk down to the Yellow Line, the car was 2/3 full. Many of the folks got off at Holladay and headed east down Holladay, either to Lloyd Center or the 7th Street MAX station I expect.

        My other trip was just yesterday and was a purchase errand. Since I knew that Friday before Memorial day was going to be horrendous on I-5, I didn’t want to drive. (Little did I know how horrendous; details in a few lines.)

        So I drove the Delta Park and caught the MAX with my Honored Citizen $1.00 ticket with about a five minute wait, got off at Interstate/Rose Quarter and walked around the Convention Center to the car stop beside it. I had to wait eight minutes there, and I ended up only going two stops, so I probably could have walked as fast (and did walk back), but I didn’t remember how close to Burnside Portland Music is.

        Anyway, when the car came eight of us boarded from the Convention Center stop, and the car was reasonably full. A few more people got on a Burnside and I can’t say anything more because I got off at Stark, the next stop.

        These were not “game days”, and yesterday was a weekday. Obviously a sample of two is not statistically significant, but the line is serving a purpose on the east side. Will it gentrify it in the same way that the Pearl did? Time will tell, but I’m pretty certain that when Milwaukie MAX is hooked to the south end and the loop continues on to PSU, “gentrifiers” will probably start beavering away at the inner Eastside.

        It’s a very Oregonian thing to do.

      11. D.P: I wouldn’t be so sure.

        How can you tell whether the development was “predetermined”?

        There are documented instances where rich, powerful men and large corporations were planning to do a huge amount of development, but wanted a train service first — and the city *wouldn’t* approve the train service. And in some of these cases, the rich, powerful men and large corporations just pulled out and moved their entire operations to another city. I’m going to have to dig up the examples, which may take some weeks.

        My point is that you cannot be at all sure that the development would have happened without the streetcar. Certainly, people had to be talking about development and planning it before the streetcar — but they are quite capable of pulling out and moving to another town.

        Amazon has no reason whatsoever to stay in Seattle, really. Even Paul Allen could have decided to move — he’s rich enough to live whereever he likes.

      12. David L.:
        “But the biggest problem with streetcars to date is that we don’t take any steps to improve their speed and reliability!”

        I can’t argue with that! The 19th century streetcar builders made a point of getting reserved right-of-way whereever they could. Even San Francisco has, after all these years, put in reserved lanes for for the old Muni lines.

        And yet, on the wide, wide streets of the Pacific Northwest, for some reason mixed-traffic is fine? Even though the *entire street* is being rebuilt?

        To their credit, Portland Streetcar has been ekeing out more and more reserved ROW, and with one exception they’ve done pretty well at setting up connections.

        Which makes Seattle’s plans look even sillier. The First Hill Streetcar — well, I think there’s nothing wrong with putting a streetcar along roughly that route. But they proceeded to design a spectacular dogleg into it; and locate all the stops for minimal interchange (a block away from the southern end of Capitol Hill station; two blocks away from Amtrak and two blocks away from Sounder), and put it entirely in mixed traffic.

        One is left with the question “Why?” There was enough room here to make a pretty decent streetcar with exclusive lanes and well-located stops, for the same price as what you’re actually getting, and it just isn’t being done. It seems like it must be the same mentality which led to the dumb location of the downtown Bellevue Station, but I can’t pinpoint any NIMBY involvement.

      13. Anandakos:

        Reading the list of streets you traveled down on the Portland East line, and the landmarks you passed and noted, was like nails on a chalkboard. Because I have been on that train, and I know full well you slowly you were moving in order to be able to so carefully note those movements.

        In all of that descriptive movement, you traveled not even a mile and a half. I’m certainly glad to hear that some people are making use of the north-south segment as part of their gridded movements — though they certainly weren’t when I was on the train — the handful of occupants you describe still constitute a massive failure on a vehicle only running at 20-minute intervals.

        Meanwhile, we both experienced trains with exactly 6 people when crossing the Broadway Bridge. In my case, that was at rush hour. The river crossing was marketed as one of the line’s key connective purposes — the reason for it violating the grid to become a loop, the reason for building a whole new bridge at the loop’s south end — yet it seems on that roughly 18 people per hour (6×3) use the streetcar for that purpose.

        Is unmitigated waste the “very Oregonian thing to do”?


        Portland is getting better about lane exclusivity for MAX expansions, but not for their streetcars. No way, no how. The line we’re discussing travels 6mph on straightaways, crosses the drawbridge at about 2mph, and makes creaky 90-degree turns seemingly every third block. It is slow as hell, it never runs more frequently than 20-minute intervals, and demand for it is insanely low. It has inspired zero development, and it is possibly the single most fringe element in the transit network of inner Portland.

        This is not good transit, and I can only presume you’ve never been on it. Maybe you owe yourself a visit to Portland; you need to understand just how poor some of the current wave of streetcar projects can be.

        As for SLU: Paul Allen had untold millions invested in SLU’s growth, and he never going to “walk away” for lack of a trolley. This isn’t like the professional sports owners whose profit margins depend on suckering cities into paying for their platinum-studded sports palaces. Allen was going to make a killing on his real estate no matter what.

      14. @d.p.,

        Actually, I just happen to know all the streets and from having worked in Downtown Portland for around ten total years and the landmarks from having visited Portland Music several times and different restaurants several times. As I said, I was surprised at how quickly I got to the music store from the Convention Center (I hadn’t specifically traveled there from that direction before), but most of the rest I already knew.

        Also, I just remember where I’ve been like a picture, sort of like Google StreetView. It just happens; I don’t have to try. (Actually, I can’t stop it. Uh-oh)

        The streetcar is relatively slow, especially on the west side of the loop; there’s no denying that. The bridge crossing will probably always be relatively light, because MAX to the mall serves the same catchment areas on both sides of the river as does the car, but more frequently. There is probably going to be some commuter travel between the Pearl/Northwest and the Lloyd District, but during the middle of the day it’s not a trip that will happen a lot.

        And the line does wind around the Lloyd District, you’re right about that. But that gets it considerably closer to the activity center than simply going down MLK would, so it’s both a cost and a benefit.

        The loop is not yet a blaring success, but it’s less of a failure than you painted it, and it’s only a few months old. As stated, I believe that when the south end of the loop is closed and folks on the inner east side can ride relatively quickly to South Waterfront and PCC, they will use it.

        And the area will be gentrified, first by the arts community who first pioneered living in the Pearl; they looooooovve those old warehouses for bohemian flats and real studios.

        And thanks for keeping it friendly.

    2. Oh, I forgot the promised “details”. It was a doozy, though obviously not so bad as the collapse in Mount Vernon.

      A pretty bad three-car accident blocked both the HOV and the middle lanes of I-5 north of the I-405 split, so I-5 was pretty much a well-corked bottle for an hour and a half.

      When we were coming down off the elevated into Delta Park/Vanport I noticed that the traffic on the freeway was very light and that there were no cars lined up in the Delta Park on-ramp northbound. There usually are lots of cars there who have taken surface streets to avoid the freeway.

      I got on and whizzed across the bridge, so my investment in taking transit really paid off.

      Also, I finished the trip in less than two hours so I didn’t have to use another ticket. Yes, I know that makes me sound cheap…..guilty as charged.

    3. Speaking of streetcars, there is a nice article from the Atlantic Monthly about them:

      This is a good article, and it fails to list one study in support of streetcars as a revitalization tool. Is there one, or is the idea of streetcars revitalizing neighborhoods based on anecdotal evidence? Isn’t it likely that zoning changes and street improvements had more to do with it?

  2. Turns out Boston has a transportation system designed for spontaneous 1.5 mile trips, and found it much, much more useful for actual mobility than a slow-ass streetcar. Advantages include
    – ability to catch a ride any time, 24/7, with no waiting
    – Ability to travel in two dimensions, not just along a line.
    – Runs faster than a streetcar and doesn’t get stuck in traffic

    Details here:

    (cost is just $12 for unlimited use during my 3 day stay)

    1. Bikes are the only sensible way to get around much of central Boston. They are much faster than walking, the T, or (god forbid) driving. You just have to be a little bit fearless.

    2. Turns out that even when it isn’t 75 degrees and gorgeous out, Boston still has a transportation system designed for spontaneous 1-mile to 8-mile trips, because the subways enjoy urban-supporting stop spacing, the platforms take about 15 seconds to reach, and you rarely wait longer than 6 minutes for a train (if that). And because, though buses and surface-running trains exist, no one would even think of running them in mixed traffic anywhere near the city center.

      I freaking love Hubway, and I use it constantly when there. But fair-weather, able-bodied personal transport still carries a fraction of the urban trips that the real mass transport system does, and for good reason. That it helps negate the silliest of streetcar fetishism does not mean that it negates our actual mass-mobility needs.

      1. My one experience of it was that the racks where I had planned to stop and shop and then pick up another one in the other direction were entirely full and that was true pretty much all the way back to my point of origin (by the Prudential Center). Just one anecdote, but I’ve used them in about ten other cities and Boston is the only one where I had this problem. Downtown just doesn’t have enough racks.

      2. This is one of the advantages of SoBi. All the technology is on the bike, so you can park them at a standard rack. They have both GPS and a computer reservation system terminal on the back of the bike!

      3. Oh come on…this is Seattle. Land of people who walk without umbrellas! What is really missing are avenues that have been converted to bike and pedestrian use only. Plus some gondolas for getting up and down the hills.

      4. “And because, though buses and surface-running trains exist, no one would even think of running them in mixed traffic anywhere near the city center.”

        Tell that to the people on the Arborway branch. Or in Cambridge. Both of whom are suffering with mixed-traffic buses. Or tell it to the people taking the “Silver Lie” to the, uh, city center, in mixed traffic.

        The home of the Big Dig is still run by people who don’t understand public transportation. All credit to the pre-1922 BERy, and to those who saved what is left of that system, but an outside observer has to note that Boston has not had people who understand public transportation running it in most of our lifetimes.

      5. Wrong again, Nathanael.

        The outer Arborway branch was bustituted because the mixed-traffic trolleys were so awful. The 39 bus ain’t great, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the trains were.

        The Silver Line is indeed an example of BRT fraud, but it suffers from lack of off-board payment and signal priority, not from blocked running lanes. In fact, when the poorly-conceived SL “phase three tunnel” was axed, and a Washington->South Station surface branch added, exclusive lanes were conceived, plotted, and implemented in about a month. Because mixed-traffic on that stretch would have been insane.

      6. p.s. I’ve seen many incarnations of the MBTA and many occupants of the Massachusetts governor’s office in my time. None have been perfect. Some have expressed open contempt for transit customers, or overseen botched projects like the Silver Line. Others have implemented unsung but worthy gradual improvements, from the fare integration that accompanied CharlieCard to the ADA retrofits and station rehabs.

        But frankly, all of them were (by necessity) competent enough to keep 1.3 million passengers moving painlessly around the city and urbanized region every single day.

        So I’d take any of them over a transit authority that thinks downtown mixed-traffic streetcar circulators are a solution to anything.

      7. This is what I mean by the importance of keeping a continuous tradition of good transit. Boston’s mass transit may not be perfect just like the British trains may be the worst in Europe, but they’re still an order of magnitude more comprehensive than what we have. If you have the transit, it’s there and people can count on it, including people who only use it occasionally,. and they’ll stand up to defend it and the politicians will think about expanding it rather than cutting it, and expand it in a way that doesn’t strain existing riders during construction.

        Seattle lost all that when it lost the streetcars. And why did it lose the streetcars? Because it wasn’t a large enough city to withstand it when the automobile era rolled around and people were eager to install highways and one-way streets. If the city had been larger and more established like San Francisco, there would have been a larger mass of people standing up saying, “You can’t take away our streetcars, we need to get around.” But the city was small enough that people believed everyone could drive everywhere and parking wouldn’t take that much space, like the Los Angeles vision of the time.

        After the streetcars disappeared, and the buses gradually became less frequent, and didn’t cover some newly built-up areas, and Amtrak and Greyhound also became less frequent and less comprehensive, and le corbuseuran design made it harder to walk to places, people just got used to the lack of comprehensive transit, and new generations were born that never had it and couldn’t imagine it. This is why things are as they are, because these people are a large chunk of voters.

        The only way to turn it around is to patiently educate them on the possibility and value of having comprehensive transit, and by building it up incrementally as much as we can, both for us to use and to show them what it can do for a city. But it will take a long time before a critical mass change their minds and we can go full speed ahead on transit/pedestrian infastructure like Scandinavia does.

  3. >> I don’t think all of the development in that neighborhood is due to the streetcar, I’m not delusional, but I’d be willing to bet there is a respectable amount of what’s going on because of it.

    I would take that bet. My guess is the streetcar has had little effect on the area. There are lots of areas in the city that are booming right now, despite lacking a streetcar (e. g. lower Queen Anne). Some of these have poor transit in general (like Ballard and West Seattle). Meanwhile, some areas that are part of the streetcar section of the light rail (like Othello station) haven’t done so well. Good transit is important, but overall geography is more important.

    South Lake Union has several advantages:

    1) Essentially an undeveloped part of downtown.
    2) Fairly flat walk from the rest of downtown (the folks I know who work at Amazon take a bus to a different part of downtown and just walk).
    3) Has hills on the side, but a nice lake to the north, which prevents it from feeling “hemmed in”.
    4) Paul Allen has made it clear that he wants the area to boom. This makes it much easier for other developers. They know the area won’t collapse, so they feel confident building anything.
    5) Sits between the UW and the rest of downtown. The area was already becoming a biotech hub (with the Hutch and other buildings) because of this. This encourages similar industries (like software).

    None of this suggests that transit isn’t important. But a streetcar isn’t that fast, so it really doesn’t play much of a part in whether a place makes sense for an office building. These places are dominated by office buildings. The shops came as a result of those, not the other way around. Notice how well the other areas nearby (like Cascade) are booming just as much (even though the streetcar doesn’t serve it). If you had a very fast way to get from the UW to South Lake Union (such as a light rail stop) then I think it would add fuel to the fire of this area. As it is, this place is doing well — and the streetcar had very little to do with it.

    1. I would agree. Back when Seattle Commons (now SLU) was being kicked around it was pretty clear Seattle’s CBD only had one area left to grow to, and that was north. West is water, east is a steep hill and south was undustrial/sports/bus bases.
      Just the publicity alone about the streetcar gave the mayor and council some good mileage when talking about redevelopment and growth.
      As a transportation system, it kinda sucks, and will never be much more than it is today, but I think of it as an amenity, just like other public services.

    2. There are lots of areas in the city that are booming right now, despite lacking a streetcar (e. g. lower Queen Anne). Some of these have poor transit in general (like Ballard and West Seattle).”

      Two different locations aren’t directly comparable. You have to look at how much more the same neighborhood would be thriving with appropriate transit (streetcar for SLU, subway/monorail for Ballard). Some people like Queen Anne’s way of life and wouldn’t live in Ballard or West Seattle. For other people, the presence of a subway/monorail/streetcar might make them willing to live or shop in a neighborhood they wouldn’t otherwise. The opposite is unlikely, that upgraded transit would make them less likely to go there. What we have is neighborhoods that aren’t living up to their potential because it’s so difficult to get in and out of them on transit.

      1. Sorry, but the Streetcar Fetish Movement is all about pretending that location specifics, economic conditions, and other contributing factors don’t matter.

        That’s why you might wind up seeing shiny new streetcars in super-sprawling Columbus and downtrodden Detroit. In Detroit!

      2. I agree that many neighborhoods are not living up to their potential because they lack good transit. I’m just saying that streetcars aren’t good transit.

        I’m also saying that the argument that they can revitalize a neighborhood lacks comparative study. I hear all the time about South Lake Union and Pearl Street suddenly becoming great neighborhoods after they put in the streetcar. My point is that there are dozens and dozens of neighborhoods, even cities, that become great just because of bigger economic and cultural factors. You are talking about a Seattle and Portland neighborhood that suddenly got popular in the early part of the 21st century. This isn’t an economic miracle. Show me a city or neighborhood that is on the wrong end of history that managed to revitalize itself because of the streetcar and maybe you have something. But so far, I haven’t seen it — none of the stories I’ve read of rust belt cities making a comeback feature streetcars. Arts, housing subsidies, rebuilt warehouses, improved schools, definitely. But streetcars, not so much.

        Streetcars are nice, but so are street improvements. After all, Lake City became a very popular area after they improved the streets. But lets not pretend that people there can get around any better because of it. I understand the appeal of streetcars, or street improvements. But the big improvement to Lake City (for example) happened as much because they allowed developers to build really big building in the neighborhood as it did because they improved the street layout (which is, in my opinion, far nicer than if they had just added a streetcar). So much of it is just momentum. If you have a neighborhood with lots of shops, it begins to resemble Toronto, and you want to visit there. It is wonderful to walk a vibrant city street with no agenda in mind. The University District is like this. You can wander by dozens of restaurants until you find one that looks good. This feeds on itself, and other restaurants want to locate there. But I’m not convinced, nor have I seen any evidence to suggest that streetcars can help a neighborhood reach that tipping point. As I said, I think South Lake Union would have reached that tipping point at most a couple weeks after it did without the streetcars. This hardly makes the effort worthwhile (in my opinion).

      3. I think the argument for street cars is the same as putting LINK on the surface of Rainier.

        There is something to be said for organizing society..especially one that devolved into crime and anarchy…with “monumental” architecture. Something solid and immoveable that can be built upon. A bus line can change, but a train station.. a bit more permanent.

        The only problem I have with it all is that we take things that should be easy and widespread (a streetcar) and turn it into a politically charged “project”. LINK has suffered for this too, “light” rail is called that because its cheap and fast to implement. Everywhere but here!

        And Paul Allen’s quest to develop is good but again, these types of things should be simple and widespread, and cheap to all…not concentrating everything into one mile high apodment tower with a two mile street car and a 1/2 mile tunnel.

      4. This is such a cluster-bomb of multi-topic idiocy that responding to it is literally impossible.


      5. Well, Bailo kind of killed that discussion.

        Anyway, my argument is that if Paul Allen had been refused his streetcar, he would quite likely have taken his toys and gone elsewhere, and taken his friends with him.

        Regarding Columbus and Detroit, streetcars will work a lot better there than they would in places which are doing well. For kind of stupid reasons: it doesn’t matter if you’re in mixed traffic *if there isn’t any traffic*. And rail bias is *still* real.

        Detroit has the very particular problem of persuading people to abandon large portions of it and move to a small collection of favored districts, because nobody can afford to maintain public services to the whole region. For this, it starts to make sense to dump every amenity you can think of in one area, just to convince people to move across town. In this case that area is the space from the Amtrak station to downtown. I don’t think that applies to Seattle so much….

        Unfortunately, one thing Detroit could really use would be fewer freeways, but the area’s identity is so tied up in cars, it probably won’t happen until looooong after everything else has collapsed.

      6. Nathanael,

        Your Rail Anywhere No Matter What fetishism is showing.

        Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

        Paul Allen wasn’t going to “pack up and move elsewhere”. Your “argument” is ignorant and asinine. SLU (and his monopoly control over it) was uniquely positioned to make him a ton of money.

        Columbus is so sprawling that the dinky streetcar simply cannot possibly be useful for anything. It doesn’t matter how real rail bias is, if the rail line doesn’t connect to anywhere that people actually need to go.

        And even if Detroit consolidated considerably tomorrow, the proposed line would still have a usefulness problem. Detroit is well past broke. I can’t think of a worse way to spend the money they don’t have than this.

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