If ‘George’ Bus Failed, Why Not Light Rail?
From those wonderful folks who brought us George, we now have a proposal for light rail.
Of course, you wouldn’t know that from reading David Snyder’s enthusiastic pitch for light rail in Falls Church (Guest Commentary, 12/8)-it doesn’t so much as mention George. And yet if a tiny operation like the George bus failed, what makes Mr. Snyder think that a far more expensive light rail system will succeed?
After all, George involved no fixed routes, so it could have been rerouted in countless different ways when the lack of ridership became obvious. But instead, it schlepped along for eight expensive years until it became a national laughing stock. Why should the great minds responsible for this fiasco be entrusted with something far more grandiose like light rail?
Light rail would supposedly trigger economic development by connecting Seven Corners with Tysons Corner. But will people drag their shopping mall purchases onto streetcars rather than drive? How will they get home from their streetcar stops? Will their chauffeurs pick them up?
Contrary to Mr. Snyder’s claims, the lack of economic development in Falls Church has little to do with our not being on a rail line. Rather, it involves the political gauntlet that developers have to run in order to build in this city. And with Metro’s extension to Tysons, does that place really need yet another rail line as well?
Buffalo’s light rail certainly didn’t spur an economic boom; to the contrary, its downtown business owners pushed the city to bring back the car traffic that its rail system had displaced. Closer to home, the projected cost of Arlington’s Columbia Pike light rail line has jumped by over $100 million in just four years.
The federal government may be funding light rail like crazy, but that’s no reason for us to take part in the insanity.
Blames Virginia’s Municipal System for Water Woes
As a resident of Fairfax County, I was surprised to learn City of Falls Church serviced my water. My surprise transformed to alarm upon learning that neighbors one block away substantially less in total with Fairfax Water (not “a puny few dollars per quarter” as the editorial misleadingly claimed).
Unfortunately my “competitive” service is a mere tax on Army Corps of Engineer water, with an antiquated payment system unlike Fairfax Water’s online payment system.
As someone originally from a state where cities are proper subsets of counties, I believe this mess will not be resolved as long as the Commonwealth of Virginia has a pathological municipal structure. The only winners in this fiasco are lawyers.
Fairfax County’s legal settlement will not yield a penny for me, much like Falls Church’s excessive prices leave a system billed in the stone age.
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