Supporters of “light rail” and “commuter rail” consistently over-sell and under-deliver. Not only does mass-transit fail to reduce congestion, but it is always fraught with cost-overruns and implementation delays. Such is the case in Austin, where the new toy train is going to cost taxpayers a third more than promised.

The Austin American Statesman is reporting that the project is coming in right at the $90 million mark… If you don’t count $33 million in costs tied directly to the project.

Mass transit supporters would like to recreate Disneyland – or Paris – right here in Texas. While its true our Mikey Mouse city officials and goofy transit agency provide hours of entertainment, rarely does such a scheme make for long-term fiscal health. Ever wonder why hot dogs and a soft drink cost nine-times real-world market value in an amusement park?

But they are achieving their goal of Europeanizing transit dollars. Look at the debt those countries have, the lack of productivity, and the general economic morass in which they aimlessly wander.

Given the problems France and the other rail-dependent countries have with strikes, sabotage and union walk-outs – activities which literally bring economic activity to a stand-still – do we really want to continue importing this socialized scheme?

Apparently enough people like it to vote for it. But where the wheel hits the rail, the actual use for daily commuting and the grind of life, the toy train derails.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”

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