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Are more trains worth 30 billion dollars-Phoenix City Council thinks so

February 12, 2015

A Phoenix Council subcommittee decided yesterday (Feb 11) that taxpayers should pay more than 30 billion dollars to raise taxes to extend light rail and add more buses. OK, yes, there were some other items in the recommendation that the sub-committee accepted from the Citizens Commission on the Future of Phoenix Transportation (I was a member and voted “no” on the recommendation) but trains and buses comprise the vast majority of the 30 billion. Two council members, Bill Gates and Thelda Williams questioned the revenue projections in the proposed tax and the relatively small amount budgeted for street improvements but the new taxes appear headed for the ballot.
In the meantime, some of us think that Phoenix should be thinking twice about raising taxes and, instead, paying more attention to important issues such as filling our shortage of 300-500 police officers. Further, some of us think that the “future of Phoenix transportation” does not lie in 19th century solutions like rail but rather in individual modes of transportation such as on-demand, point-to-point services like Uber and Lyft and autonomous vehicles. Concepts like time of use pricing would help enable these ventures and allow market forces to address transportation congestion.
Let’s realize that we are in the 21st Century and save taxpayers 30 billion by allowing the free market to respond.

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  1. Christina Estes permalink

    Please send your contact info to

  2. Eric M permalink

    I agree. Unless there is a plan to remove all automobile traffic–and surely there is not–why spend this kind of money on something that interferes with its most efficient flow? Buses work well. My only criticism of the way Phoenix buses work is that they are too tightly packed. Run them often and run them well. This gives true incentive for people to use them, AND lessens traffic. But drop the trains, which are crazy big costs; obstruct traffic; and often require people to drive to/from their endpoints anyway.

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