Monday, January 18, 2016

Las Vegas and Light Rail: A Rush to World Classiness.

As a Houston Resident, I've seen all of this play out before.

A group of local Dims look around and realize that other cities have something. This is met by shrieks and gasps from those who care about World Classiness, more locals repeat the same arguments as fact (despite the fact their claims are wholly unsupported) and Bingo, an instant, ready made, transportation challenge that can only be filled by very expensive, taxpayer-funded light rail.

Now, the local media jumps on board, making it obvious that any coverage in their rag is going to be slanted toward the idea of light rail and any opposition to it will find their voices muted. This is not media, it's advocacy.  The Las Vegas Sun should be required to register as a lobbyist.

But, it won't.

And light rail in Las Vegas is going to happen, because in today's society bad ideas never truly die. The supporters of light-rail, and of expanding government are much, much more dedicated than those against. They do not stop, they will not accept no for an answer.

They will persist despite the fact that cost/ridership projections will be shown to be impossible to attain, that problems with construction will threaten to put small businesses out of business altogether and reams of data will show that this light rail system will do nothing to prevent congestion or alleviate Las Vegas traffic problem.

It won't foster the sense of community that many are so desperately yearning for and it won't move Las Vegas away from the automobile as a primary means of transportation.  Even worse, it won't go where the pie-in-the-sky New Urbanists in Las Vegas want it to go. 

Instead, this is Las Vegas. It's going to run from the airport to the Strip, and will probably have as it's terminus something close to Freemont street. There will be calls for it to service neighborhoods and "connect people" but all it will end up doing is more efficiently connect casinos to gambler's money.

Oh sure, the taxi lobby will complain but, let's be clear here, they have brought this upon themselves due to their inability to rid Las Vegas of the practice of long-hauling. That's why people want Uber and it's why the once-powerful Las Vegas taxicab is taking a back seat.

These things are going to happen because that's how light rail works. It's never been about moving people or building communities. What it has always been is a way for rich folks to travel to bars and other recreational areas without having to hop on busses with the poor.

Viva Las Vegas.