Austin’s Transportation Planning is Unsound, Unaffordable, Ineffective and Unsustainable

COST Commentary: The following letter was sent to the Austin Mayor and city council members on August 11, 2011.

Dear Mayor:

I did not receive a single response from council members regarding my previous communications about Austin transportation. One may choose to “shoot” or ignore the messenger but the message becomes louder and more compelling with each passing day: Austin is developing a transportation plan with major unsound, unrealistic and unsustainable components.

The article below is a compilation of data regarding rail and transit in the four largest Texas regions. This article reflects actual transit data and trends which amplify the continuing stream of overwhelming evidence which is revealing Austin’s ineffective planning and wasteful expenditure of taxpayer’s dollars in an attempt to address mobility and transportation needs. The exorbitant costs of an inefficient Urban Rail will divert precious tax dollars from essential, higher priority transportation and other city services resulting in increased taxes, degraded quality-of-life for citizens and disproportionate negative impacts on lower income citizens.

I suggest that, if the council applied the same fiscal prudence and rigorous cost-effectiveness evaluation as now being focused on Water Plant 4, the wasteful spending of millions on planning and pursuing an Urban Rail system, costing many times WP-4, would be avoided.

Major Texas City Metro Areas Are Confirming Failures in Rail Transit

The next article, referenced below, is a report chronicling more than 70 years of studies which provide convincing evidence that the conversion of downtown one-way streets to two-way streets will substantially increase accidents and dangers to Austin’s Citizens. Austin’s “Great Streets” planning includes numerous such street conversions and should be immediately reevaluated. Have the Austin Planning or Transportation Departments ever addressed these issues with the council?

Austin’s “Great Streets” Plan Will Endanger Citizens.

I submit this information in the spirit of improving our great city and serving the greater-good of its citizens. I would be pleased to assist and serve to achieve a safer city with improved mobility.

Best regards,
Jim Skaggs

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