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February 19, 2009

New poll shows Dallas-Fort Worth support for commuter rail

Commuter rail03272008 A whopping 85 percent of Dallas-Fort Worth residents favor the creation of a region-wide passenger rail system, according to the results of a public opinion poll released a few minutes ago by the powerful Austin lobbying firm HillCo Partners. Read the results for yourself.
The firm has been hired by Fort Worth, Arlington and the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition to lead the lobbying effort for the Texas Local Option Transportation Act. If the state Legislature passes the bill, voters in Dallas-Fort Worth counties would be asked to approve a menu of taxes and fees to pay for commuter rail and road projects.
What types of taxes and fees are people willing to pay for public transportation? According to the poll, driver's license fees and vehicle registration fees are the most popular options.
-- Gordon.


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Uh, this is called PUSH POLLING. The questions was probably something along the lines of, "Would you prefer to have commuter rail built in the D/FW area, or be beaten with a stick until bloody?".

This will NOT work, due to the issues of 1. Distance, 2. Population Density, and 3. Public willingness to ride the damn thing. Mass transit does NOT make sense except in certain areas of Asia and Europe where the population density make it a viable alternative.

The expense that this would incur on the area is insane...


The wording of the question is in that link, if you want to read it.
-- Gordon.


Great. No info on how they picked the target audience. No info on demographics. 44% are 'aware of a proposal to create a regional passenger rail system', which would strongly suggest push polling. Most folks have better things to worry about.

These folks favor 'Drivers license fees' and "Vehicle Registration Fees' to fund this at '$50/year'. How many of them have licenses, or own a vehicle?

Odds are that these are not the 'common voter', who would be expected to pay for ANOTHER boondoggle. /grin.

In "Great Rail Disasters," economist Randal O'Toole (an adjunct scholar with the Reason Public Policy Institute, which co-published the study) meticulously lays out these facts, assessing the track record of rail transit in 23 urban areas based on 13 criteria, including ridership, cost, congestion, energy use, and safety. Among other things, he shows that advocates of rail projects routinely overestimate their popularity among commuters and underestimate their costs; that such projects "can cost 50 times as much to start as comparable bus transit"; that they typically make congestion worse instead of alleviating it (for the auto haters, that result is intended); that "the average light-rail line consumes more energy per passenger mile" than cars do; and that "rails are more deadly than the alternatives in 15 out of 23 rail regions."

In short, O'Toole writes in his understated conclusion, "rail transit is not the urban savior that its advocates claim." To the contrary, he says, "it is clear that rail transit detracts from urban livability by far more than it adds."



PS: How may of them would ACTUALLY RIDE the thing, rather than hope that their neighbors do?


I would.

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