Transit proposal fails to add up

PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler says what we said long ago, that light rail in Central PA would create a giant sucking sound of taxpayer money.

We hate to say we told you so (no, not really), but “WE TOLD YOU SO!” Here in September 2002 and here in November 2004.

Here are some sobering numbers from Sec. Biehler:

* Philadelphia’s regional rail requires $4 to $5 in taxpayer subsidies per passenger trip.

* Corridor One would require $92.60 in taxpayer subsidies per passenger trip.

In other words, Biehler says, “each round-trip Corridor One rider would require an annual subsidy amounting to $51,800. It would be cheaper to lease each rider a car and pay for downtown parking, fuel, maintenance and insurance.”

Yet, proponents of the taxpayer boondoggle, like John Ward of the Modern Transportation Partnership, still argue that “To only look at those ridership numbers and forget about all the economic development this can bring in … it just shows no vision.”

No, Mr. Ward, trying to ignore the costs of your pet project shows no vision, and it shows no respect for the taxpayers who will be forced to foot the bill.

If this is going to be such an economic boom, why isn’t the private sector putting up its own capital for this project?