October 6, 2004

By Doug Newman

Letter to the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

Letters to the Editor
Denver Rocky Mountain News


Whenever a measure is put forth to expand Denver’s light rail system, several thoughts come to mind.

  1. Light rail is impractical for many people. I work in outside sales. My job requires me to travel to several points around town every day, and to carry a large amount of job-related material at all times. My phone can ring and my schedule can change on a moment’s notice. There is no practical alternative to the automobile for my line of work.
  1. I am not unique. Consider parents who, in addition to going to and from work, take the kids to baseball practice, swimming lessons and doctor appointments, and run errands as well. Consider the roofer, the plumber, the realtor and every other person whose work requires them to be mobile all day. Light rail is practical for very few people. Its effect on traffic congestion is negligible.
  1. What is sacred about the RTD bus monopoly? If you want to expand mass transit, why not let multiple private companies offer bus service? Let these companies compete based on rates, routes, schedules and service. Let the best three or five or eight companies win. Moreover, buses travel faster than light rail trains, and it does not require a multi-billion dollar construction project to establish a new bus line. These buses would be paid for by the people who ride them, and nobody else.
  1. To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois: 0.4 percent here and 0.4 percent there and soon you are talking about half my paycheck. There are countless government programs that carry a seemingly small price tag. However, when you compare the cost of these programs to the benefit they produce, you realize that they constitute a very expensive taxpayer rip-off.

FasTracks will cost Metro Denver taxpayers billions and will only reduce traffic congestion by about one percent. The benefit simply does not justify the cost. Vote “no” on FasTracks (Proposal 4A) on November 2.

Douglas F. Newman

Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman


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