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Feds back out of TTA rail project

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I realize there's already another thread dealing with the project. This one is focused more on the fed. gov. pulling out. Here's a link to the news & observer article:

Bad news for Triangle rail

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I realize there's already another thread dealing with the project. This one is focused more on the fed. gov. pulling out. Here's a link to the news & observer article:

Bad news for Triangle rail

Wrong! This does not say the feds are backing out....read it carefully....Dole and Burr are strongly suggesting that TTA cancel the project on its own...before the feds have even given their final ruling....what business do these two republican senators have giving such a premature announcement?? I believe that influencial donors, who love to go anti-democrat at every turn have selected this issue since it is basicly front burner for the dems and alot of money is involved and convinced Dole and Burr to go for the political points associated with the assist in getting TTA to drop the project. Burr has even come out of the blue, where Liddy was at one time pushing to get the money, Burr was doing nothing and now all of a sudden he has been recruited to add some more punch to the cease and desist letter written to the TTA. Only the FTA can make this decision, not these two elected officials.

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Wrong! This does not say the feds are backing out....read it carefully....Dole and Burr are strongly suggesting that TTA cancel the project on its own...before the feds have even given their final ruling....what business do these two republican senators have giving such a premature announcement?? I believe that influencial donors, who love to go anti-democrat at every turn have selected this issue since it is basicly front burner for the dems and alot of money is involved and convinced Dole and Burr to go for the political points associated with the assist in getting TTA to drop the project. Burr has even come out of the blue, where Liddy was at one time pushing to get the money, Burr was doing nothing and now all of a sudden he has been recruited to add some more punch to the cease and desist letter written to the TTA. Only the FTA can make this decision, not these two elected officials.

Absolutely right, but sadly the average Joe, the Business Community, and the media will now discuss the project as if it's dead, been dead, never lived.

Can you imagine, just for a minute, what a different place this would be if we elected state, local and federal leaders with some vision?

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Well I sure hope it's not dead. I'd hate to see more roads and watch people place more emphasis on the "need" to have a car.

On with the sprawl. Who walks to where they're going anymore? So primitive.

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Lets not turn this forum into a political (democrat/republican) bashing forum... please?

I am personally in favor of the regional rail, but my expectations of it are not high. There is not enough stops, it does not go to the airport, and people here love there cars!!! I just don't think there will be enough riders to get on and neither does the federal government. I can't see the federal government putting that much money into the rail project when there is so many more desperate areas in the United States that could use that money. I don't think the federal government should fit the bill for our local problem. If we wanted rail bad enough the state and local cities, and counties could come up with the money easily if they wanted too but no they won't because its tied up in other things. I just don't see demand for rail in the triangle. You could throw the arugment that the demand is the parking lot on I-40... True but most of the people on I-40 live in the suburbs and wouldn't know what a train is, plus there is no stops going to the suburbs. I just think TTA has a good idea, but just stations in the wrong places leading to fewer riders.

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In terms of the funding issues, I think that this is something that we've been over again and again. The federal government supports road projects like I-540, that will almost entirerly be used for in-state commuting, not for interstate travel. As a result, it is unreasonable for the federal government to have much stricter standards when it comes to public transportation efforts, which will similarily go for in-state commuting.

Second of all, I think part of the problem with the efforts for the Regional Rail system today is that even supporters of it "have to admit" that there are problems with the plan. The truth is, if you want the project to happen, you have got to support it whole-heartedly. The fact that the train doesn't go to the airport was an intentional choice - not some random mistake - because building a connection to the airport would cost hundreds of millions of dollars in itself and attract only a few hundred riders a day.

Third, while the project doesn't go to any malls, only to the "wrong places," as you say, it is designed to re-energize the places that need to re-energized: downtown Durham, Raleigh, and Cary. If we're really interested in reigning in on growth, the downtowns are where that's going to happen.

In case it's not clear, I am still convinced that the Regional Rail plan is the best one for the Triangle and I'm convinced that it deserves money, and if built, will attract more riders than the TTA estimates.

If we don't receive federal support, I'm all gung-ho about increasing taxes in this area to support construction of the system, perhaps by 2015, or so, once enough money has been raised. We've got to find an alternative in this region to the sprawl that's engulfing us, and this system really provides an opportunity for new forms of growth here.

By the way, the Regional Rail System is 100% designed, which means that once money is provided for it, it can begin construction virtually immediately. If we must take a step back and come up with some alternative, we'll have to start the whole designing process once again - DEIS, EIS, EIS Final, Design, Final Design, etc. That seems like a mistake to me.

Finally, the amount of federal money needed by the TTA at this point is something like $300 million, as $100 million has already been provided. Is it possible to find half of that in local sources and get the rest from congressional allocations? Probably. I think this project's still feasible.

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Lets not turn this forum into a political (democrat/republican) bashing forum... please?

I am personally in favor of the regional rail, but my expectations of it are not high. There is not enough stops, it does not go to the airport, and people here love there cars!!! I just don't think there will be enough riders to get on and neither does the federal government. I can't see the federal government putting that much money into the rail project when there is so many more desperate areas in the United States that could use that money. I don't think the federal government should fit the bill for our local problem. If we wanted rail bad enough the state and local cities, and counties could come up with the money easily if they wanted too but no they won't because its tied up in other things. I just don't see demand for rail in the triangle. You could throw the arugment that the demand is the parking lot on I-40... True but most of the people on I-40 live in the suburbs and wouldn't know what a train is, plus there is no stops going to the suburbs. I just think TTA has a good idea, but just stations in the wrong places leading to fewer riders.

I have to disagree with you on a couple points.

First, localities don't come up with $800 million dollars easily. And, you won't build a high-quality transit line across the Triangle for much less than $800 million, regardless of the technology. For all the cost escalations, $800 million is still comparatively inexpensive. We've all been paying taxes to FTA that have gone to other cities for a long time. TTA's project is saying that it's "our turn" to get some of that money back.

You say that the suburbanites on I-40 wouldn't know what a train is much less care, and then you suggest that we should run the trains to their doorsteps to attract more riders. Which is it? Will suburbanites ride the train, or not? If the answer is no, then there's no point to running trains out there for them to ride!

Next, there ARE a few stops in suburbia. Unfortunately, some others got cut along the way (ie the planned Morrisville stop, plus the stations in North Raleigh) but the NW Cary, Cary, and W Raleigh stations are all "in the suburbs." There is an expansion to Wake Forest on the books as well, plus the proposed Eastrans lines to Knightdale/Wilson and Garner/Selma, plus the "phase 2" to Chapel hill - all of which depend on this backbone to move people across the region.

The TTA doesn't try to be conventional commuter rail with one central station that everyone works at, and a bunch of park-and-rides in the suburbs. One of TTA's stated goals (and this is what the municipalities wanted, by the way) is to encourage denser development in the core of the region (ie, the RTP area.) If we no longer want that, and if we - as a region - instead want to be a couple of small downtowns constituting specks of dust in a galaxy of cul-de-sacs, criss-crossed and looped with multiple 8+ lane freeways, then so be it. But according to the votes that people have cast in recent elections at least, that's not the image or the direction that the people want for the Triangle.

The airport? Yes, it would be nice to serve the airport. But how many people would actually use it? Data from other cities indicates not many. We've been down this road before. I think the airport argument is a red herring, but it might just be necessary to win public support.

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Price says Triangle rail project 'definitely' not dead

Chris Baysden

(Edited by orulz - please be sure to re-read the rules. When posting about news articles, always be sure to post a link, and please do not plagarize by copy/pasting entire articles.)

http://triangle.bizjournals.com/triangle/s...12/daily39.html

Way to go David Price!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I have to chime in here and say something about the tone this forum has taken the past day or so. I tend to concur with some of the points by ericurbanite. I personally would love for rail to work here and for it to be useful, but I have to take issue with some of the reaction around here.

For many of you, it seems that history starts when GW Bush took office. This rail has been in the planning stages for the better part of 2 decades now. What did the Clinton administration and various Jim Hunt administrations in NC do to put funding in place and work with business leaders to build the necessary consensus for this project? Moreover, the TTA has done a pitiful job of promoting this project and planning it effectively. There are so many reasons why this project is failing other than the standard "Republicans hate transit" argument.

My second point is that I'm personally insulted by some of the comments here. Raleightransplant referred to "cul-de-sac losers" in this thread:

Thread

Excuse me, but I live in a cul-de-sac. Some day I want to live in an a cool downtown apartment/condo when I can afford it. For now, my "Mcmansion" in the cul-de-sac is what I can afford. It's an investment for me and it's my perogative to live there. Do you discount the utility and enjoyment I actually get out of living there? Or do us "cul-de-sac" losers not have the right to enjoy it or even live there in the first place according to your thinking? I just think this type of comment is extremely insulting, immature, and intellectually lazy. Do you also make fun of people who live in trailer parks because they have to, or any other place that doesn't fit where YOU think they should live?

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Im not trying to say that i dont want rail at all. I think adding rail is a great way to improve upon smart growth in this area. I just think that its basically a terrible plan. I just don't want to see ghost trains riding along the tracks much like alot of the TTA buses do around here. Im not saying there wont be people riding them, but honestly the numbers are just not there to ride these trains. I just think the plan needs to be looked at again so they can strengthen there position. I have not heard alot of pro supporters say this plan is the end all be all, so lets come up with some ideas to make this plan better instead of pointing fingers at politicians for an excuse of a bad transit plan.

Absolutely right, but sadly the average Joe, the Business Community, and the media will now discuss the project as if it's dead, been dead, never lived.

Can you imagine, just for a minute, what a different place this would be if we elected state, local and federal leaders with some vision?

Can you imagine if the TTA had people in place over a decade ago to construct a plan that was feasible??? I just look at the stops and I don't see many residents near them. I see alot of commuters, but not alot of residents. I think thats the point I am trying to get across and I don't understand why this has become a typical "blame" it on a political party.

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My second point is that I'm personally insulted by some of the comments here. Raleightransplant referred to "cul-de-sac losers" in this thread:

Thread

Excuse me, but I live in a cul-de-sac. Some day I want to live in an a cool downtown apartment/condo when I can afford it. For now, my "Mcmansion" in the cul-de-sac is what I can afford. It's an investment for me and it's my perogative to live there. Do you discount the utility and enjoyment I actually get out of living there? Or do us "cul-de-sac" losers not have the right to enjoy it or even live there in the first place according to your thinking? I just think this type of comment is extremely insulting, immature, and intellectually lazy. Do you also make fun of people who live in trailer parks because they have to, or any other place that doesn't fit where YOU think they should live?

I agree that the "cul-de-sac losers" comment is out of line. Although I do think that we've gone overboard with allowing so many cul-de-sacs in the Triangle, it is absolutely inappropriate to bad-mouth or blame the people who live on the cul-de-sacs, because they have actually chosen to live somewhere that is a pretty sweet deal for them and their families.

There are some cases where terrain requires a dead-end street, but otherwise I think the number and length of publicly maintained cul-de-sacs should be limited and more strict interconnection ordinances enforced.

Anyway. I'm off topic. But thanks for providing an alternative viewpoint on the forum.

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I have to chime in here and say something about the tone this forum has taken the past day or so. I tend to concur with some of the points by ericurbanite. I personally would love for rail to work here and for it to be useful, but I have to take issue with some of the reaction around here.

For many of you, it seems that history starts when GW Bush took office. This rail has been in the planning stages for the better part of 2 decades now. What did the Clinton administration and various Jim Hunt administrations in NC do to put funding in place and work with business leaders to build the necessary consensus for this project? Moreover, the TTA has done a pitiful job of promoting this project and planning it effectively. There are so many reasons why this project is failing other than the standard "Republicans hate transit" argument.

My second point is that I'm personally insulted by some of the comments here. Raleightransplant referred to "cul-de-sac losers" in this thread:

Thread

Excuse me, but I live in a cul-de-sac. Some day I want to live in an a cool downtown apartment/condo when I can afford it. For now, my "Mcmansion" in the cul-de-sac is what I can afford. It's an investment for me and it's my perogative to live there. Do you discount the utility and enjoyment I actually get out of living there? Or do us "cul-de-sac" losers not have the right to enjoy it or even live there in the first place according to your thinking? I just think this type of comment is extremely insulting, immature, and intellectually lazy. Do you also make fun of people who live in trailer parks because they have to, or any other place that doesn't fit where YOU think they should live?

I'll take the blame on this and say that was out of line. :blush: I'm sorry about that. I was speaking emotionally, and was generalizing...so please forgive me. People have every right to live where they choose, and I certainly can understand that. I was speaking more to the extremely wealthy folks who move here and don't EVER so much as think about the vitality and sustainability of this region. I'm also not going to Charlotte :rofl:

I'm sure we'll figure something out here. Something will happen...not sure how exactly, but it will happen somewhere down the line. It can be frustrating here, but I do love it. My hope is that other people love it like we do, and good things will come about for the region.

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This cul-de-sac losers thing is complicated. There are so many affordable options in townhouses, condos, apartment complexes, and they are known to be decent, basic housing and a good choice for those who either want to be there, or can't foot the bill for something else. You can't call them losers for living there out of necessity. But you can bash the idea of the McMansion or the cul-de-sac and the goofy street names like Maple Pine Cone Court or Baby's Breath Terrace and the overall layout of this region and others like it.

The thing is, there are so few options (and affordable ones at that) for real city living, and we wouldn't be having this conversation had developers and local governments planned their cities as if they were actual cities and not uber-suburbs.

When I drive by a sprawling, homogenized apartment complex, I don't get angry at the people living there. I get angry at the idea that everyone should have a car and drive to work, and to the store, and to their friends houses, and the idea that if you live in place A, then you can't get to places B or C or D without a car.

These townhomes and cul-de-sacs we're talking about exist because America fell in love with the automobile. Suburbs in general exist for that same reason (well, I guess it's a chicken or the egg kind of thing). Cities like Raleigh and Durham and Atlanta and Cary that didn't 'boom' until after the advent of the car developed the way they did because of the car, in a car culture.

To people who love their cars, rail transit is a step in the wrong direction. They don't see a need for trains because the Triangle to them is apartment complexes and office parks, and they get along just fine the way they are. It's not like these people (probably many of the same ones who make the decisions about rail transit funding) are stuck at home because they can't get from place to place without trains or mass transit, and it's doubtful they even care that to some mass transit is preferred or even necessary.

More highways = more sprawl. Regional rail = more downtown development.

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The energy/sustainability question is also out there, and regional rail is part of the solution. If you haven't visited The Oil Drum before, you should check it out.

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Here is the link to the TTA article in the N&O this morning.

http://www.newsobserver.com/243/story/378605.html

There is an article in here regarding other options. HOV lanes are mentioned as a possible alternative. The estimated price tag: $1.2 Billion. Regional Rail: $810 Million. This being the case, I don't see this as an alternative. The article also goes on to point out how regional rail would be the equivalent of removing on-lane of traffic on I-40. I don't see how HOV lanes can even be considered with this argument. :huh:

Option two: toll roads. I am still waiting for someone to give me a logical answer as to how the presence of toll roads will reduce traffic woes. It just adds more roads-->more development-->more people-->more traffic that funnel into good ole' I-40. :whistling:

Option three: Bare bones rail plan. If it takes scaling back TTA's plan for the interim, I would support it if it could help the thing get started. Maybe expansion could be looked at a later time. -_-

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There are suburbs then there are suburbs. Surburbs are not bad but there are some designs that are very bad in the long run because they lead to isolation, complete dependence on the automobile, unnecessary traffic congestion and no sense of a community as it is all generic. It is almost impossible to serve these places with alternative transit.

In North Carolina, the decisions on the design of a subdivision and its relationship to the rest of the area are made by the developers who are looking to make as much money as they can, and community building is not one of their objectives. (If there is not powerful local zoning to control it which is rare in this state, though it does exist) The end result are endless streets as mentioned above that lead to nowhere and only serve the purpose to keep cars from traveling by people's houses. Everyone traveling to and from these places is forced to use one or two main roads which dump onto major highways and become extremely congested. It is typical for there to be no sidewalks and because it is all single use zoning, anything required for daily living (schools, work, stores) is all located where it is impossible to walk or to bike ride to. Without exception most of these developments have 5-10 basic house designs that are simply reproduced over and over. They lack front porches and usually the garage is the most visible feature on the house (snout house). This is the domain of big box retail that constantly shifts to next big thing and leaves behind empty boxes in the older neighborhoods.

Sound familiar?

Why do people buy into these places? Marketing, cheap prices for floor space, the the culture we live in causes people to make bad choices in housing that many later regret. Case in point, once one of these developments is built out, appreciation is typically very low.

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Is there any evidence of a fledgling New Urbanist movement in Raleigh which might begin to counter this thinking? My cousin in Charlotte lives in Dliworth now, but she once lived in a similar neighborhood.. The houses were well kept, but the place was.....depressing and isolated. This phenomenon is really more national in scale and certainly isn't unique to Charlotte, but it would seem that the Triangle might have the money and urban vitality to counterattack and demand something better. Which developments are approcahing even lip service to the tenets of New Urbanism?

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I want to chime in on cul-de-sacs. I happen to live on one here in Raleigh. I enjoy living in my house and don't see a condo as an option for me at this point in my life. I do live "inside the beltline" in Raleigh and prefer living here as opposed to the suburbs because of our proximity to everything. My commute time if 5 minutes to work and I could walk to the grocery store if needed. Am I dependant on my car? Yes, but not nearly as much as someone living in Wake Forest or Holly Springs. A tank of gas can last me nearly two weeks in an SUV.

Do I like the concept of cul-de-sacs? Well it depends on how you look at it. We don't live in the typical neighborhood with one way in and out, so traffic flow is not an issue with our neighborhood. The problem I have with cul-de-sacs has a little more to do with the way neighborhoods are being planned today. They all feed into the same arteries and a grid pattern does make much more sense. The problem with this is that you cant reverse what is already in place. I think the advent of alternative living choices such as condos and more urban planning in small area plans makes much more sense. Unfortunately, you can't force the market.

I do think that there is still plenty of opportunity for infill development in the area where the needs of the market can be satisfied. This is one reason I am so opposed to sprawl. We underutilize exisiting land in order to develop cheaply out in the countryside. Before long, this countryside is no longer and development continues to push further out. Over time, the commute will go from 20 miles to 50 miles.

My grandmother has a farm in Holly Springs that has been in the family for 5 generations. They are old tobacco farmers and the treatment they get from town planners can be quite upsetting. She has no intentions of selling her land although offers are plentiful. It angers me that I can download a city planning map with her property already earmarked for development into homes, greenways and a city park. I have had to go to town council meeting to voice opposition to annexation at least once a year.

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Lets not turn this forum into a political (democrat/republican) bashing forum... please?

I am personally in favor of the regional rail, but my expectations of it are not high. There is not enough stops, it does not go to the airport, and people here love there cars!!! I just don't think there will be enough riders to get on and neither does the federal government. I can't see the federal government putting that much money into the rail project when there is so many more desperate areas in the United States that could use that money. I don't think the federal government should fit the bill for our local problem. If we wanted rail bad enough the state and local cities, and counties could come up with the money easily if they wanted too but no they won't because its tied up in other things. I just don't see demand for rail in the triangle. You could throw the arugment that the demand is the parking lot on I-40... True but most of the people on I-40 live in the suburbs and wouldn't know what a train is, plus there is no stops going to the suburbs. I just think TTA has a good idea, but just stations in the wrong places leading to fewer riders.

I did not present my political stance...however a a middle schooler could pick out the political nature of that letter. Unfortunately for Raleigh, some of our elected leaders have 'elected' to start campaigning for the next election instead of look at helping our region get the money it needs to uncouple itself from a cheap-energy reliant economy and transportation network. Onward from politics...I do not work for the FTA but would wager that the future costs of energy are not looked at in the analysis. Typically some future cost factor is included to arrive at future dollars. Recent economics provide this factor but it is obvious to us all, and to those predicting future oil supply (I realize our trains will be diesel) that the future cost of petro based energy is not linear. With that fair assumption almost any rail project becomes feasible when looked at over the life of the equipment. To those who correctly point out that not many residnets live near some stops...this was by design...the TTA is trying to guide development and the rail is a neccessary component of high density development. To the folks out in surburbia and on the cul-de-sacs, this is great for you even if you will not use it, as it will guide new population inward instead of farther out past where you currently live and will hopefully keep existing surburban thoroughfares from becoming even more congested. The rider to dollar ratio will never be above a certain level without the density the train itself will allow to happen.

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This cul-de-sac losers thing is complicated. There are so many affordable options in townhouses, condos, apartment complexes, and they are known to be decent, basic housing and a good choice for those who either want to be there, or can't foot the bill for something else. You can't call them losers for living there out of necessity. But you can bash the idea of the McMansion or the cul-de-sac and the goofy street names like Maple Pine Cone Court or Baby's Breath Terrace and the overall layout of this region and others like it.

The thing is, there are so few options (and affordable ones at that) for real city living, and we wouldn't be having this conversation had developers and local governments planned their cities as if they were actual cities and not uber-suburbs.

When I drive by a sprawling, homogenized apartment complex, I don't get angry at the people living there. I get angry at the idea that everyone should have a car and drive to work, and to the store, and to their friends houses, and the idea that if you live in place A, then you can't get to places B or C or D without a car.

These townhomes and cul-de-sacs we're talking about exist because America fell in love with the automobile. Suburbs in general exist for that same reason (well, I guess it's a chicken or the egg kind of thing). Cities like Raleigh and Durham and Atlanta and Cary that didn't 'boom' until after the advent of the car developed the way they did because of the car, in a car culture.

To people who love their cars, rail transit is a step in the wrong direction. They don't see a need for trains because the Triangle to them is apartment complexes and office parks, and they get along just fine the way they are. It's not like these people (probably many of the same ones who make the decisions about rail transit funding) are stuck at home because they can't get from place to place without trains or mass transit, and it's doubtful they even care that to some mass transit is preferred or even necessary.

More highways = more sprawl. Regional rail = more downtown development.

Points all well-taken. I think the reason we have more sprawling residential developments and an automobile-centric country is a little more complicated than simply "America fell in love with the automobile." Keep in mind that the U.S. is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of land mass. Compare that to many of the much smaller countries in Europe. For those areas, trains are certainly the preferred option and very feasible. Everything is much more compact just by the nature of their geography, which means that people in those countries inevitably live closer to each other. This also means that in more compact geographies, the time cost of travelling is lower. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The Triangle is made of 3 major metro areas, not one. And there are considerable distances between them. Even if the train existed in the Triangle today, the time cost of travelling on it would still be much higher compared to a car for most people.

Also consider that in the Euro countries where transit is more relied upon, there just isn't the economic freedom that we have here and so the possibilities for home ownership and the like are much lower. In the U.S., the vast majority of our land mass is still undeveloped resulting in relatively cheap costs of living. So when given the choice, and coupled with high levels of economic freedom, some people are simply going to want to move out to the suburbs away from the more compact lifestyle of urban living.

Like Avery said, you can't force the market. I do believe that small area planning and urban living choices ARE becoming more popular. There's plenty of evidence of this just by looking at what's going on in downtown. I think this will continue and I hope it does. I love being able to go to downtown and have a variety of more interesting things to see and do. Someday, it may be the #1 preferred choice of living. But regardless of all the planning that is thrown at these types of projects, we only have a limited ability to change people's actual tastes and preferences in a country where our choices are so extensive.

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One thing that gets me about many of the articles in the newspaper and what many folks say about the rail system is that they think the only reason for this rail line to exist is to reduce traffic on I-40. Then they say "Assuming that it meets its numbers, it will only take off a few percent of the peak-hour cars. So, it has no purpose."

Wrong. There's a lot more to this than reducing traffic on I-40. Traffic reduction on I-40 is something that is near and dear to everyone's heart, but the truth is, improvement on I-40 will only come as a result of a multi-faceted approach involving changes in development patterns and a more diverse transportation infrastructure.

Adding more regular lanes will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and put us through half a decade of construction and more traffic jams; adding HOV lanes will cost over a billion dollars (present estimates) and put us through the same construction pains, or worse!

The key is reducing our dependancy on I-40. That means changing development patterns so that living 40 miles from work isn't "average." That means transportation alternatives, both transit and highways. The rail system should be built (be it single track, double track, or whatever.) NC54 should be four-laned clear from Raleigh to Chapel Hill. The Durham East End Connector should be built.

And 540 has nothing to do with congestion mitigation; it's just framework for more suburban development. These people crying for I-540 will be sorely disappointed when I-40 gets WORSE, rather than better after a couple years of interstate-fueled development.

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I did not present my political stance...however a a middle schooler could pick out the political nature of that letter. Unfortunately for Raleigh, some of our elected leaders have 'elected' to start campaigning for the next election instead of look at helping our region get the money it needs to uncouple itself from a cheap-energy reliant economy and transportation network. Onward from politics...I do not work for the FTA but would wager that the future costs of energy are not looked at in the analysis. Typically some future cost factor is included to arrive at future dollars. Recent economics provide this factor but it is obvious to us all, and to those predicting future oil supply (I realize our trains will be diesel) that the future cost of petro based energy is not linear. With that fair assumption almost any rail project becomes feasible when looked at over the life of the equipment. To those who correctly point out that not many residnets live near some stops...this was by design...the TTA is trying to guide development and the rail is a neccessary component of high density development. To the folks out in surburbia and on the cul-de-sacs, this is great for you even if you will not use it, as it will guide new population inward instead of farther out past where you currently live and will hopefully keep existing surburban thoroughfares from becoming even more congested. The rider to dollar ratio will never be above a certain level without the density the train itself will allow to happen.

I agree with your statements. I don't think the caveat for building with more density should hinge on regional rail. I do think that rail would be tremendous for its potential success, but I don't think we should rely on it. I think that there needs to be a little more seperation on these two ideas because the mindset is in place that it is an all or nothing proposal. Again, this is a political ploy of drawing the line in the sand. They are trying to paint this issue as black and white and it just isn't. I really don't enjoy talking politics on this forum, but times like this I guess it comes into play. It feels as if the local media grasps onto this TTA issue and runs off with it as means to accentuate failure.

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