The Alle-Kiski rail project: Still not sustainable
Numbers updated by an advocate of light-rail commuter service between Lower Burrell and Pittsburgh since our Monday editorial make the project an even worse deal for taxpayers.
Consultant/developer Robert Ardolino says his firm was hired as a consultant on the project by the Allegheny Valley Railroad, which owns the 20.5 miles of track the service would use. His bottom-line cost projection, formerly $380 million, now is even more daunting for taxpayers — rising to $414 million.
Of that $414 million cost, Mr. Ardolino says, federal grants would cover 50 percent and two federal loan programs would combine to account for 40 percent. Private equity would pick up just 10 percent of the tab — a level of private investment that begs this question, again: If this project is such a great idea, with promises of profit-producing economic growth for all,why does it rely so heavily on public subsidies?
Projected weekday ridership has been bumped up from 9,900 to 9,920 while the projected per-passenger-mile state subsidy needed for operations is down, from 88 cents to 53 cents. But that's still more than twice the national average for such subsidies — 22 cents, according to the Federal Transit Administration.
So, some numbers have changed but the proposal's lack of worth hasn't. Any project that suckles so lovingly on the taxpayer teat never is sustainable financially. Taxpayers shouldn't bear the burdens that this Alle-Kiski Valley commuter rail plan would impose on them.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More than just mums in Connellsville
- Reforming immigration: Raise the bar
- Saturday essay: Seeding next year
- The Iranian deal: Mortal blessings
- U.N. Watch: More propaganda
- State of Corruption: Jim Short’s plea
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Fresh produce solution
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- The DHS crackdown