Unsettling, if not unexpected, news from the world of mass transit. It seems that not only is the Austin passenger train system costing more than expected, but it just might kill you. The Austin American Statesman notes that Capitol Metro officials have known for some time that the federal government doesn’t consider the trains safe — piddling details about the fuel tanks exploding and not being up to federal standards.
Cap Metro officials are using the “hey, the Europeans don’t have any problem with these trains” defense. Well, if the Swiss don’t mind a few dozen Texans dying in an exploding ball of flame, we shouldn’t either, right?
The Statesman reports that despite the potential problems, Cap Metro guys is pushing ahead with launching the train on time and over budget:
Can the agency still open the $100 million-plus line between Leander and downtown Austin this fall, as the agency has promised? “I don’t see anything right now that would preclude that from happening,” Capital Metro rail manager Rich Krisak said.
Good times in the old town, eh? I wonder if Rail Manager Krisak plans to be on that train?
Austin City Councilman Brewster McCracken, who serves on the Metro board, tells the paper that he didn’t know about the safety issues until reporters called him. “I’m very intrigued by the image of exploding Capital Metro trains,” McCracken said wryly. “It’s a metaphor for something bigger I think.”