OMG People Talked to People!!

A leftwing referendum passed. It can't be that voters rejected it. It must be the Kochtopus!!!!

This New York Times story made me laugh. They blame the “Koch Brothers” for killing a transit plan in Nashville. Naturally, the reporter is a “climate change” reporter.

But read the story. The whole angle is a popular mayor was selling something and everyonethought it would pass. Then it didn’t.

Must be the Koch Brothers.

You have to actually dive in to read about the popular mayor’s scandal. And when you really get into it, what you find is that it was actually a grassroots effort of people talking to people. It’s the way politics works.

What the story also leaves out is that outside interest groups were working to help Nashville too. This was not a one sided Koch operation against a void. It’s just the grassroots teams connected with actual voters in the way winning political campaigns do. They were helped far more by the missteps of the pro-transit group, the mayor’s scandal, and exposure of a lot of nonsense involved in developing the numbers that suggested the project would be more costly than advertised.

But blame the Koch Brothers! It’s far easier to have an evil menacing billionaire than admit light rail sucks and people know it.

No. 1-3

I've lived in city's all over the country, Nashville included, and there are places where metro rail works well. Nashville really isn't a great fit. Nashville has a very decentralized business core, other than the I-65 corridor for roughly 20 miles. A downtown core, or multiple cores, connected by rail where stations are convenient for businesses, keeps rider levels high enough to be financially viable. Downtown Nashville is a tourist hub, not a business hub, so the model just doesn't fit.

Portland is somewhat similar to Nashville, and its metro system works quite well, but it was a massive undertaking, it doesn't pay for itself today, even with more riders than was originally projected, maintenance costs are always higher than projected.

These types of mass transit systems really only work with scale, go big or go home, and the city and population needs to fully understand that a real system is going to cost exponentially more than all of these cute little hobby systems.

I live in Cincinnati now, and we have a cute little trolley system around downtown, I use it like everyone else, to get around town during the weekends and Reds/Bengals games. Cincinnati is actually a city that could benefit from regional rail, since it has a high density urban core where more than 250k commute into the city daily, commutes, especially from North East of downtown and the Northern KY core where nearly all of the commuters come from, through generally pretty bad traffic on pretty bad roads, where at some point the main Ohio river bridge will need to be replaced, its 30 years past its expiration date. But because it doesn't actually connect any residential areas with the core, you still have to drive downtown and park, before you hop on the trolley. We got this mess because actually connecting from the core to the 4 or 5 areas within 10 miles of downtown would cost billions, and they kept shrinking it to fit the limited budget, to the point its useless for the reason it was built.

Another thing that works well in theory, and cities seem to want to be cool and have one too, because its worked once in the modern age, maybe 1.5 if you count Atlanta's Marta.


Milwaukee too, except ours is a trolly on rails running in a circle through the downtown area. Zero transportation benefit, but the good US Taxpayers are kicking in around $100M to build it.


I wish that this group would have come to Indianapolis! We're getting ready to install.... RAIL... from one of our wealthy suburbs to downtown for... convenience... supposed to lower the highway load, too, but I just can't imagine a reality of people sitting on a train car instead of in their MBs, BMWs. Audis... in in traffic jams...