I Post on a Bridgemi Article Touting a Light Rail Line in Detroit.

http://bridgemi.com/2015/02/big-ambitions-for-detroits-m-1-rail-system/#comment-723618

I did see Grand Rapids mentioned. The city touts its “green” proclivities and New Urbanism. They ignore that real estate prices in GR are half of what they were, the population is stagnant, the city doesn’t have the money to open its swimming pools and couldn’t plow its neighborhood streets last winter. The local M live, trying to push the increased sales tax to fix the roads, took pictures of potholes; I was impressed that the only pictures that they could find were taken in the City of Grand Rapids. The public schools are emptying out as people flee, moving to Kentwood and other suburbs.

The media and various political ward heelers (contractors, unions working for the transit company) peddled our Silver LIne along So. Division in GR as a cure-all. No one at Bridge noted the troubled rollout. Fare could not be collected, buses were late, Wifi didn’t work, ice on the fabled level access platforms made approaches impossible….

It has not stimulated any economic activity even after 4 years. Markets move in anticipation of future price trends, and prices and economic activity in that area would have skyrocketed had anyone seriously thought that So Division would thrive. We, in Kentwood, had that one lonely application for a new marijuana clinic along highly touted route which the planning commission trashed. I thought that this was unwise; at least the marijauana store was a beginning.

The Silver Line is named after an allegedly successful progenitor in Cleveland which “stimulated 5 billion dollars in new investment” along its route. Much of that was by the on route Cleveland Clinic which built new ventures as they received an ever increasing number of Canadian patients fleeing their collapsing medical system; I don’t think that these desperately ill people came because of the bus line. The city of Cleveland still lost 17% of its population 2000-10 and another 1.7% 2010-3, but their Silver Line stimulated economic activity. Behind mountains, more mountains.

In any case, we now have our esteemed, long anticipated Silver Line in GR with poor service, sketchy finances, poor participation by the workers and peasants so dear to the hearts of the gullible politicians and their cheerleaders in the media, and ten years of taxes imposed on folks who will never use the service.

In the wings are self driving cars (you can buy limited self driving Mercedes and Cadillacs even now, I’m told.)
Also, computers and the internet are making work and study at home ever more available and attractive. The MOOCs are going to eat weaker colleges like Wayne State alive. I’ll bet that its student population is stagnant and that trend will only accelerate.
Public transit carries at most 2% of workers. There is no reason to believe that Downtown Detroit will suddenly become populated with lots of new workers happily carrying their lunch pails to their government jobs because this rail line might be able to deliver one or two thousand extra each morning.

The GR area has a 40 million dollar white elephant on its hands and will continue to bleed tax dollars that could be used for genuine economic development. And now Detroit will follow, wasting 140 million based on disinformation about GR published by the feckless media.

The taxpayer wins the victim’s sweepstakes. Poor schlep has been told how good he has it with rapid transit, the swindle.

Detroit should make original mistakes-don’t repeat the mistakes that others have made.

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