More street car craziness. I love the phrase "modern street car". Like an up-to-date stagecoach.
Despite mounting construction costs and uncertainty over federal funds, Tempe is still seeking to be the Valley's first city with a modern streetcar system traveling through its downtown.
Valley Metro executives Steve Banta and Wulf Grote reviewed the project with the Tempe City Council this month.
The new alignment has lengthened the route from 2.6 miles to 3 miles and increased costs. The cost range is now $175 million to $200 million depending on the type of vehicle technology used.
First, there is no way it comes in for these numbers, but even accepting the mid-point of their estimates this is $62.5 million a mile or $11,837 per foot. Of course there is also the operating cost, which will certainly lose money since there is no way people are going to pay much for a maximum 3 mile ride. My prediction is that they will sell the project promising that there will be a fare that helps cover costs but they will drop the fare quickly once implemented (because no one will ride this thing unless it is free). And and don't forget the cost of the loss of an entire lane of roadway each way to the trains.
Just consider how much less 4 buses running in a 3-mile circle would cost, and they would only consume a tiny fraction of the existing road capacity, rather than taking up an entire lane just for themselves. This is just a huge upper-middle class subsidy, a special favor to rich people who think buses are too low class to ride but are OK being seen on a train. Madness.
My best guess is that these kinds of projects have become prestige projects for government officials. This is the way they show off to each other and act as a portfolio for them to seek larger jobs in bigger cities.