Regarding the Nov. 2 State Journal article "City eyes bus rapid transit," a more viable alternative would be using existing rail infrastructure to provide commuter service.
While bus rapid transit often seems appealing to politicians, it does not provide the substantial increase in real estate tax revenue that rail systems do. A new light rail system in Minneapolis and St. Paul has generated so much construction along its route that the increase in property taxes could repay the cost to construct the system in a few years. Bus routes can be changed easily and therefore do not create much construction along their routes.
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The proposed route map shown in the article is paralleled by existing rail routes. Many of these rail lines are owned by the state, thus eliminating considerable right-of-way acquisition costs. Further, it would take very little funding to operate some test trains to gauge the public’s response.
So why is the city so focused on building a second-rate system from scratch, rather than utilizing existing and readily available rights-of-way?
Clark Johnson, Madison