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Old 09-15-2009, 05:06 AM
 
4,010 posts, read 8,931,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumbollo View Post
Nope. For the simple reason that CATS is completely unable to contain costs ......
There is an article in the paper today where CATS is saying the light rail line to UNCC might not be finished until 2019. They have already moved the streetcar to the city who has no hope of paying for that project even though they keep voting to spend millions on studies. The North CR project is effectively dead because CATS plans to extort an additional $100M from them fell on it's face. You guys in the SE will never see the silver line built.

So in 2007 we were promised a lot of trains if the transit tax repeal was voted down. Now in 2009 we are still paying the tax, and there are no trains. The downtown business leaders that paid for that campaign and the idiots on the city council and the mayor all lied to us. If this wasn't the biggest rip-off of the tax payers. I don't know what is. This is why voting in transit specific taxes is always a bad idea because no accountablility goes with it. I would add a number of the county council to this list. Either they lied or they are complete bubble heads that don't live in the reality of what it means to impose a 1/2 cent sales tax on everyone in this county.

Last edited by lumbollo; 09-15-2009 at 05:20 AM..

 
Old 09-15-2009, 07:03 AM
 
Location: NE Charlotte, NC (University City)
1,894 posts, read 5,729,613 times
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Lum, I agree that CATS hasn't exactly had a stellar performance in past cost predictions. However, economy of scale comes into play when you get up as high as the current price tag is. To make the leap from the current estimate to the off-the-cuff $2B, they'd need to overrun by another full $1B. Not gonna happen. And to be precise, there is no official estimate out there that pegs it at $1B. It's still at $900-something million. We should be careful to not play wastefully with million dollar poker chips.
 
Old 09-15-2009, 07:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallisteve View Post
.... And to be precise, there is no official estimate out there that pegs it at $1B. It's still at $900-something million. We should be careful to not play wastefully with million dollar poker chips.
You are correct, the real price tag could be $5B for all we know. The point is that CATS gets to collect $75M/year in transit tax, they have been collecting it since 1998 and we get one train line in 21 years? This doesn't add up to what we were promised.

There is already precedent in NC for what I said. in 1992 the Triangle Transit Authority, (TTA) which is a state mandated agency to provide inter city travel in the RDU area, started a project to build an advanced commuter rail line between Durham, Research Triangle Park, and Raleigh. This train was promised to help reduce the horrendous traffic on I-40. (It is truly bad and rivals anything in Charlotte for congestion)

So in 1994 they proposed an ~30 mile double tracked commuter rail line that would roughly flow through parts of the state owned NCRR ROW, the ROW of a freight line and via donated land in RTP. When they proposed it and got the state to fund them with a dedicated tax, they said it would cost around $100M (my bad memory says this could be $190M) and would take about 3 years to construct. It was hailed as progressive thinking in NC and Charlotte not to be out done, started on it's own train projects.

So what happened? It went year after year with study after study with the TTA growing by leaps and bounds, getting involved with federal funding matters etc etc etc, but no train line. By 2006, 12 years after the project started, the price tag had grown to $1.2B from $100M. They came back and valued engineered it to reduce the costs, but when it was said and done, they only knocked a $100M off the project. By 2007 the federal government had enough and told the TTA officially, they would not fund this project and it died. However the residents there are still paying that registration tax, and now are facing the imposition of a 1/2 cent sales tax as well. The feds killed it because they gave the TTA $120M during this project for studies and decided, finally, this was a project going no where. I

So there is a primary example of a project not only doubling in costs, but tripling, quadrupling, etc etc etc and nothing to show for it. I see nothing in CATS plans, actions or explanations to indicate they are doing a better job and in fact past experience proves they are horrible managers of expense. We just have bubble headed politicians that continue to give them anything they want. Ever wonder why LYNX was built with two car platforms instead of the more practical 3 car platforms that every other city use for light rail? It was to save money after they wasted so much during the construction process.
 
Old 09-15-2009, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,963 posts, read 12,452,400 times
Reputation: 8697
Quote:
Originally Posted by lumbollo View Post
You are correct, the real price tag could be $5B for all we know. The point is that CATS gets to collect $75M/year in transit tax, they have been collecting it since 1998 and we get one train line in 21 years? This doesn't add up to what we were promised.

There is already precedent in NC for what I said. in 1992 the Triangle Transit Authority, (TTA) which is a state mandated agency to provide inter city travel in the RDU area, started a project to build an advanced commuter rail line between Durham, Research Triangle Park, and Raleigh. This train was promised to help reduce the horrendous traffic on I-40. (It is truly bad and rivals anything in Charlotte for congestion)

So in 1994 they proposed an ~30 mile double tracked commuter rail line that would roughly flow through parts of the state owned NCRR ROW, the ROW of a freight line and via donated land in RTP. When they proposed it and got the state to fund them with a dedicated tax, they said it would cost around $100M (my bad memory says this could be $190M) and would take about 3 years to construct. It was hailed as progressive thinking in NC and Charlotte not to be out done, started on it's own train projects.

So what happened? It went year after year with study after study with the TTA growing by leaps and bounds, getting involved with federal funding matters etc etc etc, but no train line. By 2006, 12 years after the project started, the price tag had grown to $1.2B from $100M. They came back and valued engineered it to reduce the costs, but when it was said and done, they only knocked a $100M off the project. By 2007 the federal government had enough and told the TTA officially, they would not fund this project and it died. However the residents there are still paying that registration tax, and now are facing the imposition of a 1/2 cent sales tax as well. The feds killed it because they gave the TTA $120M during this project for studies and decided, finally, this was a project going no where. I

So there is a primary example of a project not only doubling in costs, but tripling, quadrupling, etc etc etc and nothing to show for it. I see nothing in CATS plans, actions or explanations to indicate they are doing a better job and in fact past experience proves they are horrible managers of expense. We just have bubble headed politicians that continue to give them anything they want. Ever wonder why LYNX was built with two car platforms instead of the more practical 3 car platforms that every other city use for light rail? It was to save money after they wasted so much during the construction process.
The Light Rail here in Portland has 2 cars and are very crowded. We have trains going in every which direction downtown, and then out to the suburbs. It actually wasn't planned all that well downtown. There are trains, buses, cars, pedestrians and thousands of bikes on some very small crowded city streets. It all sounds nice, but it is an extremely suffocating way to live. A very crammed in feel and getting more so every year. The Urban Growth Boundary here has us living on top of each other. Sprawl is bad but densely packed in can back fire on a Metro's residents quality of life.

Im sorry that Charlotte will not have the Rail Projects in a timely fashion. Thats a red warning flag for anyone concerned about growing traffic problems in a fast growing area.
 
Old 09-15-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Crown Town
2,742 posts, read 5,987,884 times
Reputation: 1667
A few points of clarification…

1 - CATS' CEO stated the following… “If the sales tax recovers, we can revise this…I'm not saying the schedule is 2019. But we've had to revise it a little bit…If sales tax revenue recovers, the line could open in 2016.”

So just like every entity that depends on tax revenue, they’ve had to cut their budget, but when the numbers improve, which they most likely will, they’ll revise the budget again. Long story short, the line could very well still open in 2016.

Article: Light rail line to UCity might be delayed - CharlotteObserver.com (http://www.charlotteobserver.com/local/story/948744.html - broken link)


2 - In late August, CATS was awarded money from the federal government, which they were expecting…

Article: Charlotte to get federal money LYNX Blue Line Extension - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC-

This was to complete design work for the NE line. I think some are confusing the fact that they will seek more money after the design work is done. But that was always the case. They won’t seek that money until 2010 or 2011, which again, was always planned. So to be clear, CATS is on track as far as getting federal help with the line.
 
Old 09-15-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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^That was a federal Senate earmark courtesy of Hagan and Burr. The same kind of money that went towards the Alaska "Bridge to Nowhere" This wasn't part of any plan.This is exactly what happened with the TTA example above. After they burned through $120M of earmarks, the FTA finally shut it down.

Of course the CATS CEO blames their failures to perform on the economy. It's a very easy mark. It's also a big lie because CATS increased it's budget this year over all previous years.
 
Old 09-15-2009, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Crown Town
2,742 posts, read 5,987,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumbollo View Post
^That was a federal Senate earmark courtesy of Hagan and Burr. The same kind of money that went towards the Alaska "Bridge to Nowhere" This wasn't part of any plan.This is exactly what happened with the TTA example above. After they burned through $120M of earmarks, the FTA finally shut it down.

Of course the CATS CEO blames their failures to perform on the economy. It's a very easy mark. It's also a big lie because CATS increased it's budget this year over all previous years.
What do you mean it wasn't part of any plan? It is exactly part of CATS plan. You have to design the thing first, then request funding for your design. And note, the government is paying for the design phase.
 
Old 09-15-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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The amount that CATS got from this earmark was 50% less than they asked for. Some planning.
 
Old 09-15-2009, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Crown Town
2,742 posts, read 5,987,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumbollo View Post
The amount that CATS got from this earmark was 50% less than they asked for. Some planning.
What are you talking about? They got what they asked for...

Link: City of Charlotte, Charlotte Area Transit System's (CATS) Blue Line Extension - Northeast Corridor Project | Congressman Larry Kissell, Representing the 8th District of North Carolina

Let me explain to you how this works. They are currently in the engineering design phase, which was just fully funded. Only after the design phase is done can the costs can be justified. Then they take their design, go to the government and say “Here, we designed our new line, and this is what it will cost, please pay for part of it.” That’s the way it works. Also, FYI, the engineering work for the North Commuter line is finished. CATS is simply waiting on the design work for the NE line to be completed so they will know exactly how much money to request from the government in total; and if to request money for both lines, or just one of them. Next year, or early 2011, whenever the NE design is done, the regional transportation committee will vote on what to do next.

Question, why are you attempting to comment on something you obviously know very little about? It would do you well to read up on the rail lines before going any further with this debate. You can start with the link below, it gives a pretty good synopsis of the NE line...

NE Line info: Overview : University City Partners
 
Old 09-15-2009, 05:41 PM
 
4,010 posts, read 8,931,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina Blue View Post
What are you talking about? They got what they asked for........
Do you even read the web links you posted?
  • From the plan you gave: Amount Requested: $30 million
  • From the WBTV article you first posted: (CATS) is pleased to announce that the Senate Transportation Appropriations legislation contains $24 million for the next phase...
I think this pretty much demonstrates who knows what they are talking about. Fault me for my math skills in calculating percentages in my head, but they definitely didn't get what was requested. Your own links prove that. I normally don't debate web links with people as it is a waste of time but since you were kind enough to provide this proof, I thank you.
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