Fact-checking the LYNX’s success
Posted on 8 Oct 2008 by Justin Ruckman
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“(…) the proposed University City light-rail line (…) now stands at $900 million, to the old standbys of escalating construction costs and evolving plans that have broadened the scope of the project.
CATS officials are counting on the federal government to foot half of the bill for the U-City line, and to that end have been busy trumpeting the purported triumphs of the South Corridor’s Lynx Blue Line (…) But a new John Locke Foundation policy report penned by David Hartgen, emeritus professor of transportation studies at UNC Charlotte, wields a sharp knife to cut through some of the fattened claims.
The bottom line, per a JLF summary of the report: ‘Taxpayers are picking up more than 90 percent of the tab for a lucky few commuters riding Charlotte’s LYNX light-rail line, despite the trains’ limited public benefit for traffic congestion, air quality, or land use.’”
This should be taken with as many grains of salt as the bolstering claims of success on the other end of the spectrum. Data can be misleading, and used to present arguments for and against the light rail’s success. It is still too early to truly measure the project’s success one way or the other; the impact of the current line is not directly related to the impact of connecting UNC Charlotte’s cultural and academic facilities, not to mention the 25,000+ students and faculty, to Uptown and South End.