It has been two years since we moved from Salt Lake City. We have watched the light-rail discussions with great interest as we have been through this before. Citizens of Salt Lake were asked to vote on light rail three times and voted “no” every time. It finally resulted in the city informing voters it would proceed with light rail regardless, as voters didn’t understand the need for light rail.
The system has eventually included a corridor of several miles through the city core and out to the surrounding areas, including the airport. The system is heavily used to access downtown for events, shopping and dining, and by commuters. However, this access has required constant fare hikes to maintain and improve the system and tax hikes to supplement fares. It has required millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase properties along easements and build parking lots for riders.
Knowing the downside of a light-rail system, cost being number one, and the plus side including reduced traffic and ease of accessing popular areas, the big question is need. You need light rail if you can support it with ridership. The need for a new bridge across the Columbia River is obvious. The need for light rail is not.
Joe and Jo Turpin