Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Add Detroit to the List

That is, the list of cities who have elected officials that trot out the old cliches about whether Rapid Transit should be considered. You know, the list of cities that includes Austin, Texas and Kansas City, Missouri. According to an article in the Detroit News, a study grant has been given to the Southeastern Michigan area to study mass transit.

Predictably, the Michigan political pundits who always seemed to be asked for a quote have come up with the usual comments, like the whole thing is a "colossal abuse" of taxpayers' money, or that the area has "less and less critical mass" needed to support transit, or that Detroiters will not embrace mass transit.

Only a former Tennessee resident is used as the counterpoint to such predictability. He notes that Atlanta has a viable transit system and that Detroit is now behind the times.

He might also have noted Minneapolis, Denver, and Houston as cities with visionaries who beat down such predictable nonsense. In each of those cities, as well as those with older systems in place like Portland, Oregon, or San Diego, or Dallas, the "It's a waste of money" argument has been replaced by the "When can we get our Light Rail?" discussion.

My bet is that all of the visionary cities are hoping that the backwords-looking-points-of-view in Detroit-Kansas City-Austin will continue to prevail, so that they can gain a greater share of the Transit Funding Pie. Those visionary cities know that they will be leaving the others to fall further and further behind the times.


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