The News and Observer reports that yesterday Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr wrote the TTA that the Federal Transportation Administration had “thoroughly examined” the TTA’s light-rail project and “the initiative does not meet the current required standards, nor the former standards.” The bottom line: TTA will not be eligible for federal funding. The Senators added, “the rail project is likely not an option for the region; we therefore believe it is time for TTA to explore other possibilities.”
Did that please the TTA?
Not one bit. It rolled-out old warhorse (and now TTA’s legal counsel) Wib Gulley for a late-night news conference to respond. Gulley said: Not so.
According to Gulley the TTA has discovered it left 132,000 commuters out of it’s computer model – and the new model will give a better chance of getting its hands on federal money. The problem is we’ve heard that before. It’s almost become TTA’s standard response to a no – we have to redo the computer model.
The TTA has been going on for ten years and its proposal has grown from $100 to $800 million. It is a bureaucracy fighting for the government equivalent of eternal life – so that whatever happens it can keep on keeping on at taxpayers’ expense. And it’s got politicians like Raleigh Major Charles Meeker – who is apparently heart-set on light-rail whether it’s needed, justified, and no matter what it costs – helping them.
These folks have been burning through taxpayers’ money for ten years and it’s time they stopped. Senator Dole and Senator Burr gave the TTA some good advice: Move on.
When the federal government – which normally has never seen a pork-barrel project it doesn’t like – says your project is a waste of money, it’s time to give up.
Washington never blinked at $10,000 commode seats or bridges to nowhere. But how Washington says Raleigh’s light-rail project doesn’t make financial sense.
Mayor Meeker, it’s time to give it up. Spend the money where it will do some good – like the Outer Loop or new schools.