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Visually looking good—economically looking bad! A city train is a toy every city desires to feel like a city. When DART was first proposed, the alleged “flat earthers” who opposed it suggested that it would be cheaper to pick up and deliver every potential DART rider in a limousine than to subsidize their ride on a DART train. They might have been right. Does anyone know the true cost for a passenger mile on a DART train, if all the money to build DART and all the tax money collected every year to subsidize DART is calculated? From Michael Morris to local politicians I have sought but have not been able to receive an answer to this question. The current ridership is so anemic that now there is a proposal to use tax money collected by DART to subsidize developers that will develop projects by DART stations to increase ridership. Inevitably if this happens, DART proponents will point to DART ridership as the economic instigation of this development. Many argue that no matter what the extraordinary cost is per DART passenger mile, it is worth it if it takes cars off the road. Not true! All the studies show that mass transit just encourages urban sprawl, as the temporarily emptier roads fill up, by the increased distant development becoming more economically attractive and valuable. In the meantime, I love the look of the yellow trains zipping around making me feel like I am living in a hip city. For now, I will continue driving to help block the roads to discourage urban sprawl and encourage vibrant growth in the city.
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