It appears that the two most popular arguments for not supporting this project are a) the city never gave the people an option, and b) it won't make money. First of all, I can't argue with the first except to say that we all knew it was coming when we re-elected the mayor, but it also doesn't mean that it is a bad idea. The second argument, well, that is why it is a public investment and not a privatized industry. If it made money, investors would come to together to build them and make money from the users. But the fact remains, cities do not build them to make money, they build them to increase connectibility to create that which drives our city: commerce! How many times has someone complained "but there is not parking downtown", or "our streets are so overcrowded", etc. This is why you build these things, to continue the movement goods and ideas.
I've decided I'm going to state all my pros and cons.
- connectivity: between the streetcar and RailRunner, we'll have connected approximately 30% of the metro areas jobs including two major job centers, downtown and north I-25.
- Transit options: The ability to leave your car at home. A person in far reaches of the metro can hop a train and get to work, the airport, a movie, food, a conference, etc.
- Pollution: The streetcar runs on electricity, saving our air quality over our densist population center. Rapid Ride and the 66 bus routes serve something like 7,000 people daily on this route. That's a lot of diesel. The perception that our bus system is always empty does not apply along Central Avenue.
- Sustainability: People who live in inner-city housing use significantly less natural resources than those living in new suburbs do to their ability to drive less, not requiring utility and street extensions, etc. Encouraging such is to everyone's advantage.
- Redevelopment potential: A city cannot continue to acquire revenue only by extending its boundaries and sprawling. Reinvestment is the key to any healthy city. The Streetcar is a catalyst for renewal, proven in every city it has been done in.
- Economic development: Who wants to live in a large city that only contains one type of development? The key is variety. Albuquerque cannot continue to only provide strip malls and single family housing units. Nearly 33% of citizens would prefer to live in apartments, lofts, condos, flats, etc. And those 33% make up a great deal of the metro areas productivity. See studies.
- Lower and middle class assistance: The ability to not spend thousands of dollars a year on vehicle expenses becomes an option when mass transportation exists.
- A new beginning: This project becomes the backbone for a more city-wide approach to transportation for the future as we surpass a million citizens and become a traffic mess like Austin, Nashville, Raleigh, etc.
The cons: The city will pay for it, just as they pay for bus service, museums, the zoo, schools, and most importantly, roads: roads in every quadrant of our city.
We're all in this together. Just because we don't use something does not mean it does not serve a purpose. Expand your horizon people.
Mood: frustrated >:-|