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Posted on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

WALLY isn't dead but needs $10 million more for demonstration rail service, officials say

By Dave Gershman

A proposed commuter rail line connecting Howell and Ann Arbor “isn’t dead,” a lead organizer said Monday, but about $10 million still needs to be raised before a demonstration service can begin.

Capital costs to start up the Washtenaw and Livingston Line, or WALLY, have been trimmed to between $16 million and $20 million, down from the $32.4 million price tag estimated by a consulting firm in 2008.

About half of the money has been secured, with much of it coming from the Michigan Department of Transportation, which is paying to renovate 15 former Chicago METRA rail coaches, improve portions of the 27 miles worth of track, and conduct the environmental assessment. That work is under way or planned to start soon.


WALLY has been in the works for several years. In this 2006 file photo, Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje explains his vision for commuter rail transportation for Ann Arbor from a car on the Great Lakes Central Railroad, north of Ann Arbor in Northfield Township. The train carried invited guests on the 90-minute round trip to show that a passenger rail service that could take thousands of cars off US-23.

File photo

“It’s been coming in bits and pieces,” Michael Benham, special assistant for strategic planning at the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, said at a meeting in Northfield Township Monday to discuss the line's progress.

But money still needs to be obtained to build stations, and install safety devices - such as stop signs, flashing signals, and/or gates - where the commuter line would cross local streets.

Cost-cutting was needed after the project missed out on a federal TIGER grant in February that was sought to cover the entire $32.4 million tab for capital improvements.

The cuts will affect the comfort of passengers. The five stations -- Howell, Ann Arbor and three in between -- would now have shelters and platforms that are more basic than originally planned. Disabled riders would use portable lifts to enter the coaches.

Fewer improvements also would be made to the track. While the speed of the trains wouldn’t change, the ride would be louder and bumpier.

In addition to those one-time expenses, running the rail line would cost $7.1 million a year, and about $1.5 million a year still has to be secured. MDOT has agreed to pay for the costs of leasing the coaches and locomotives. Great Lakes Central Railroad will operate them.

The idea is to run a three-year demonstration service to build a case for federal funding and develop a long-term business model.

“This is really to demonstrate that we have demand for it,” said Kris Wisniewski, intermodal policy specialist for MDOT.

Benham sounded optimistic about the project’s progress. The coalition of government, business and other groups developing the service is still searching for funding sources, and will turn to the communities for greater support. The AATA is the lead authority in charge of the project.

“The funding and public support - that’s the wild card,” Benham said, adding, “We’ve gotten the word back on the streets that the project isn’t dead.”

WALLY would serve commuters living north of Ann Arbor who might otherwise drive along congested US-23. Four trains would leave Howell for Ann Arbor in the morning and four would make the return trip in the late afternoon and evening. No night or weekend service is planned. A one-way trip from Howell to Ann Arbor would take 50 minutes, with trains reaching a maximum speed of 59 mph.

The station in Ann Arbor is planned for an area near Plymouth Road, though the exact location has not been determined. No parking would be provided. Shuttle buses would meet riders at the station.

About 1,200 round-trip riders are projected to use the train each day. A monthly pass for a commuter getting on in Howell would cost $145.

The University of Michigan has agreed to subsidize the fares of its employees during the three-year demonstration service, and Benham said the university will be consulted in developing the timetable of the train schedule because many of its employees live along the rail line.

If all of the money was available today, construction and other technical issues could be finished in time for the first trains to run in spring 2011, Benham said.

A separate commuter line between Ann Arbor and Detroit was proposed to begin in October, but regular service has been delayed indefinitely. Special event trains are still planned, such as on days of U-M football games.

Dave Gershman is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Thu, Jun 10, 2010 : 11:49 p.m.

My wife and I stayed in Mystic Connecticut at a b and b and took a commuter rail 30 miles in 30 minutes to Grand Central Station from which we rode the subway, toured Manhatten, saw Times Square, walked down Broadway, rode the Staten Island Ferry, saw a play and returned to our b and b that same evening. It was great! fast efficient CHEAP! You all ought to try it. I live 2 miles from the proposed Chilson Station. I enjoy going to A2. I go there for Art fair, plays, concerts, dental and medical services, food co-op, relatives in town and would go there more if it was easier and I didn't have to drive around in traffic trying to find a (non-existant) place to park. I hate taking U.S. 23 - my last trip included a one lane one hour traffic jam due to road reconstruction. Ann Arbor already has a fine bus system, cheap fast efficient, good bike routes, pedestrian malls all over main campus, and pedestrian friendly areas downtown. I can imagine taking my bike to Chilson station, taking it on a transit system and then using it to get around A2 - no car needed at either end. (And, I know I could get a job there much more easily than in Livingston County). We could create a local small scale version of the experience my wife and I had in N.Y.C. Easy access to A2 would enrich our lives out here in the suburbs or rather ex-urbs. The new stations would become magnets and centers of new urban development of all kinds. A corridor of development. I can imagine new bio-tech companies locating along the corridor because they would have easy access to the University, its proffessors and students, and its research. No tedious trip down U.S. 23. We need something like WALLY. I would make at least one change however. A few massive two decker rail cars and conventional RR locomotives would be wrong, I think. Needed instead is a more trolley car like - or bus like system (buses on rails and thus out of cars and traffic) system with frequent local 'bus/trolleys' as well as express bus/trolleys right through from Howell to A2. Anotherwords more flexible transit vehicles, smaller, lighter, (cheaper?) and more frequent. One other change: continue the system from Howell right into Lansing. Now, with UM and MSU linked we have the makings of a 'superuniversity', a 'multiversity' wherein folks could travel back and forth easily even in the worst Michigan winter weather and business along the way would have access to and use of facilities and people at both ends. VIOLA! the core a a new revitalized Michigan based not around Detroit and automobiles but around research univerities, government, and private enterprise in partnership. Look up how North Carolina jump started bio-tech there with just such a scheme.

Ming Bucibei

Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

delete wally delet Heiftje no new taxes ming bucibei


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 9:39 a.m.

First we expanded and extended roads and physical infrastructure that encouraged people to move and live, work and play further away from the city centers. And they did. This also included allowing wasteful zoning that required large lots and larger homes. All of this was unsustainable and encouraged by politicians and business that made their fortunes because of the largesse of and to the detriment of urban taxpayers. Then gas prices and the cost living large caught up with those unsustainable premises and practices. It was now too expensive to live in a mini mansion an hour or mores drive in an SUV, from their workplace. Now, those people, who decided to leave the cities and build their enclaves in exurban and rural areas want everyone to pay for a railroad to their enclaves so they can continue to live their unsustainable lifestyle far away from the cities. It is a conundrum and a hypocrisy for anyone who believes in and vocally supports increased density, Greenbelts and sustainable development to support a multi million taxpayer funded boondoggle that will serve a small, select group of people who by their own choices contributed to the problem that WALLY is claimed to solve. The UM is going to subsidize the transportation costs of their workers. What that really means is that taxpayers, locally, statewide and nationally will pay for a rail line that continues to encourage unsustainable lifestyles and development far from the city center. When will we learn to think these things through? Or will we continue to repeat unsustainable, pie in the sky solutions to problems about which we already know the answers?

John Q

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6:18 a.m.

"Since when did people move into areas because of mass transit?" Where good mass transit exists, people make this choice all the time. "I've never known anyone to say "I'm going to move to NYC because the mass transit is so great."" Most people don't move to NYC for the mass transit alone but it's one of the reasons that people do move there. Do you know anyone who lives in NYC? If so, ask them how important the mass transit system is to getting them around the city. "I've never known anyone to move anywhere because of access to a commuter line." Again, why don't you ask people who actually live where commuter lines exist and find out if it played a role in where they chose to live. In many cases, direct access to a commuter line played a role in where they chose to live. There are numerous examples around the county of new development being driven by proximity to commuter rail. See DC's Metro system for many examples. "Where in the country do we have commuter lines that are actually used that don't connect to a subway system?" Many places. Try googling "commuter rail" and see how many systems exist that don't have a subway component. If you want to be ignorant about a topic, that's your choice. But would it kill you to do a little research before coming out with your declarations that are contrary to the reality of the world?

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 8:14 p.m.

Since when did people move into areas because of mass transit? I've never known anyone to say "I'm going to move to NYC because the mass transit is so great." I've never known anyone to move anywhere because of access to a commuter line. Where in the country do we have commuter lines that are actually used that don't connect to a subway system?


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 6:08 p.m.

".......Commuter rail lines seem to work best in HEAVILY populated areas - like NYC, Chicago, etc., where ridership is pretty much guaranteed......" Hey dude, the mass transit was there before all the density you're so impressed with. In fact the density is there BECAUSE OF THE MASS TRANSIT. And for those of you writing in showing off your math skills, mass transit economics are well beyond the obvious....although I am not saying the WALLY is real mass transit and do agree that it should be KILLED. We need real mass transit - not more gimmicks supported by UM endowment money.

Larry S

Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:12 a.m.

Okay naysayers: Before you get your panties all bunched up, realize that no one is asking you to give up your car or even reduce spending on the roads. Yes, roads are a heavily subsidized system support by a multitude of tax sources (not just gas taxes.) Before there were good, taxpayer-subsidized roads, there were private companies called "railroads" and "interurbans" (trolleys) that transported people from one city to another. They actually made a profit. The heavy taxpayer subsidy on roads put some private railroads out of business or caused others to reduce or eliminate service along some routes. The trouble is that there is a real benefit to the community to provide rail service that goes beyond the profit argument. If you appliied the profit argument to roads, you would have to close most roads starting with the one at the end of your driveway. Your lightly travelled residential street does not make a profit, Does everyone forget about $4 a gallon gasoline? There is no reason to think that the price of gas is going to get any cheaper as this resource gets more scarce. It would not surprise me if the price goes to $10 a gallons. Driving around Livingston and Washtenaw counties won't be feasible for many people at those prices. Leaders in cities, states and countries around the world realize this and are exploring and building alternatives such as WALLY. A mobile populaton is vital to a strong economy.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

Forget WALLY, it's all about Mag-Lev...

Mumbambu, Esq.

Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 9:42 a.m. YOUR taxes paid for this "boondoggle" in Cleveland.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 8:50 a.m.

Imagine the cost of restructuring US23 from I-94 to Brighton. It seems if the communities involved and the UM don't make this mass transit a reality, then the restructuring of US23 is necessary and will cost a whole lot more. That stretch of US23 is not built to handle the commuter traffic it carries and in many places is poorly engineered. (think Washtenaw Ave exit and entrance ramps,etc). Anyone who travels that route to and from work knows something has to be done.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 8:36 a.m.

Unless, with reasonable estimates, it can be shown that the service can be self-sustaining, then the project should be terminated. According to this article, they do not even come close. 1200 passengers a day at $145 per month is revenue of $2.1M, but the operating costs are $7.1M. Kill the project - it is a huge cost with no benefit.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

The cost is a large issue, but I do recall that gasoline reached $4/gallon two summers ago. That cost me $60 to fill my 15 gallon Monte Carlo tank. Gas now is creeping up and I think it foolish to think fuel prices will not continue to increase. Filling up once a week at that rates makes a $145/mo train ticket somewhat attractive. Who knows what gas will cost in two years? Our state and federal reps are already promoting gas tax increases as a revenue source. So I think it is a good idea to get this system up and running. Or we wait until its too late-which is what we typically do here in Michigan. By that time, cities and states will have sucked up all tranpso money offered for rail systems, which are expanding all over the country. Unfortunately I live in Dexter, so this system won't help me, but we do have a track that runs from Chelsea thru Dexter to train station in A2. Both towns have A2 commuters and historic train depots. It would be great to use those depots again. The Amtrak runs on that line why not a commuter train? All I am saying is, alternate/mass transportation is going to be important sooner perhaps than many think.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

Commuter rail lines seem to work best in HEAVILY populated areas - like NYC, Chicago, etc., where ridership is pretty much guaranteed (as long as the crime rate and fares are kept down). The geographic area that would be served by WALLY just doesn't have the population density to make this viable. Low ridership = low revenue (think Amtrack!) = can't support itself. Nice idea but wrong place geographically to do this.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

Kill this thing. It is a waste of money and is not economically viable. You know that if it ever is put in place parties with vested interests (AATA) will push harder than ever for a countywide transportation tax proving once again that Ann Arbor is a horrible neighbor.

Steve Hendel

Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 6:18 a.m.

@stopfoodignorance: you state "It's a very good idea to get into partnership with the people who live in Livingston county." What a short memory people have! As I recall, Livingston County opted OUT of membership or participation in WALLY. What partners! Also, why is work proceeding on rehabbing the rolling stock, etc. when all of the capital funding (let alone operating funding) is still in limbo? Cart before the horse, eh wot?


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 1:12 a.m.

Without the necessary infrastructure in place (i.e. platforms, parking, transport from Plymouth Rd. into town) I don't see how this will ever get off the ground. Wouldn't it serve SE Michigan better to expend this energy for a light rail in the metro Detroit area, i.e. along Woodward, maybe points west of Detroit too? Isn't Howell small than Ypsilanti? The cost involved to serve such a few amount of people this will only be a pipe dream of the mayor's. Going Green for the sake of going Green has to have some type of cost proponent, otherwise it's just another waste of taxpayers money.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 12:56 a.m.

That's me in the 79 rustbucket. It's all I can afford with all of this hope and change.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 11:04 p.m.

"Roads are heavily subsidized. Just because you don't want to ride the train why deny everyone else?" Excuse me?!?! Because I USE the roads EVERYDAY - and we can barely maintain them because people like you in city/state government are busy squandering OUR scarce tax dollars on boondoggles like this so that a few may benefit at the expense of the rest of us. Let the UM subsidize the commuting expenses of the 1200, if they want to, but don't pick my pocket (and everyone else's) to the tune of tens of millions of dollars for this train to nowhere that almost no one will ride.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 9:58 p.m.

The 1200 riders are all UM employees who confirmed they want to ride the train. Hundreds (thousands?) more would join in once it is running. The UM has 45,000 employees, 12,000 live to the north and could board in Howell or one of the park and ride lots along the way, maybe at Whitmore Lake as they drive down from Pinckney. No more paying to park, no more waiting in the US 23 traffic jam every morning, just a nice ride into town where a bus picks you up and delivers you to North or Central Campus, the Med Center or Downtown. Hell, sell the second car in the family and save $500 a month. Buses would be caught in the same traffic jam on 23. A few years ago the state was proposing to spend half a million on expanding 23. This is a small percentage of that. Roads are heavily subsidized. Just because you don't want to ride the train why deny everyone else? Way better for the environment too. By the way, there is no transportation system in the world that is not subsidized.

Val Losse

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 9:38 p.m.

Why not start with bus service? Why not see if the ridership is there? 50 minutes from Howell to Ann Arbor seems short but you aren't at work yet. How do the people get to their jobs? When one drives they park close to work or right at work. Or when permitted people park and take a bike out from the back and ride to work. I like that the government will pay the difference. H'mmmmm where does the government obtain the money? Why taxes of course. And who pays those taxes? Why would anybody stand at a station with no heat or good cover from wind blown rain. One of the basic problems at all three metro areas, insufficient exits to remove the traffic from the expressway. Brighton has one on the east side and two on the north side. Ann Arbor has Main Street and then Plymouth Road. HOw about adding some exits?


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 9:37 p.m.

So, what could we do with the 15 leftover Metra cars? Art museum perhaps?


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 8:32 p.m.

Even in Europe, and here in the states where density supports usage, these rail systems are HEAVILY subsidized by the governments. They do not pay for themselves anywhere, so here will be no different. Its another case of ideology trumping economic reality.......


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 8:30 p.m.

If there was such a think in Michigan, I would be a mass transit activist. Those who write about "population density" sound like they might have some kind of point but don't understand how mass transit works in the US where virtually all of our "population densities" are low. Many of the systems in major US metro areas are astonishing and make both business travel and daily living superior to what we OFFER in Michigan. I could write pages explaining why but people need to experience real transit for themselves to understand it. That said, there are some facts people need pounded into their heads: 1. Mass transit is an amenity for those living in and visiting the state. It will never be a for profit business - get over it - millions of others did decades ago. 2. It is designed to look into the future and support future growth something Michigan is virtually incapable of. 3. It is expensive and so requires Federal, State and Local leadership and support to plan and fund something else Michigan is virtually incapable of. 4. New systems require brilliant, committed leadership and excellent planning firms and thats a start to a list of about 30 points. The Ann Arbor to Howell line is NOT MASS TRANSIT in any meaningful way because there will be few stops, few trains running a few times a day in freight tracks using budget trains and stations. So you get poor service, stranded riders and a system that will fail sooner rather then later. Anybody who knows squat about mass transit will run from this idea. What we do support is a real, $3-5 billion dollar system that connects metro airport to Detroit and major metro areas..because yes, Michigan could become a viable state some day.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 8:03 p.m.

I agree with the people who say this is a waste, because it is a waste. 32.4M divided by 1,200 (even if that figure were realistic) is $27,000/person not including operating costs. With that much money you could buy a new car for 1,200 people and they'd be able to go anywhere. The people who think that mass transit should work just as well in the US as in europe must be smoking something. As someone already said, the population density here is nothing like europe, and it takes density to make mass transit cost effective.

Alan Caldwell

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 7:58 p.m.

It's interesting that many in Ann Arbor want to support the concept of living 45 minutes from where you work. Some of these same people recently rejected a proposal for more housing (Moravian) right here in the city.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 7:35 p.m.

Looking at the cost/benefit analysis is not simple minded. Millions of dollars of subsidies to allow a few hundred people to shop in Ann arbor is not financially efficient.

Vivienne Armentrout

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 7:33 p.m.

I love trains. Some of my happiest early memories are about riding on trains. (They used to serve real hot chocolate with real whipped cream, important to a 6-year-old.) I rode from Iowa City to Cedar Falls on an interurban (trolley car). Later I actually used trains to travel home from college (the historic Kansas City Union Station was an experience in its day) and to meet my future in-laws. I've mourned the loss of the relatively comprehensive, functional national train system that we used to have. And I love urban light rail systems too, with wonderful memories of the London Underground and more recently, of Washington Metro. But I have always thought this idea (WALLY) was fairy dust. (Peter Pan, right?) As braggslaw said, it is about population density. I commuted from the San Diego area to the Los Angeles area (Oceanside to Fullerton) for almost 10 years. Those are two really big metropolitan areas. I got to know most of the regular commuters. I would estimate that there were no more than 200 of us at any time on a particular run (there were about 5 each way per day), and probably fewer. Most of us usually had our two-seat place to ourselves. I can't remember having to share. (Very good when you are trying to work through your commute.) Of course, lots of people took the train to Los Angeles once or five times a year. But that isn't what makes up ridership. It has to be regular travelers. All the people I knew kept a junker car at one end and parked their regular car at the other. Or had a pickup, as I did at home. What kind of commuter traffic to Howell will pay for this train, especially without parking at both ends? (And parking sort of takes away from that auto reduction story, doesn't it?) Do most people know that this train route does not go into Brighton? Brighton passengers would have to drive some distance and park. I'll leave it to others to comment on the view of reality or fantasy this notion represents.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 7:23 p.m.

OK what a lot of you people aren't realizing is that the people who live in Howell and Brighton have a lot more money that you hippies in Ann Arbor do. It's a very good idea to get into partnership with the people who live in Livingston county. A very good amount of the people who live there moved away from Ann Arbor because they WANTED a less congested life but still desired the close proximity of our quaint little town. To say that this is a waste of time or money or resources to turn the existing tracks into light rail is ludicrous. Many of those people still work and shop and SPEND MONEY Here. Now, many of those people still travel here to SPEND money in our community. Aside from that, Howell, and more importantly Brighton, is an area that is booming with business and facilities we do not have here in Ann Arbor. Just look at the rapid growth that Livingston county experienced, and still is experiencing, since before the national downturn occurred. I say YES let this go ahead. YES let us have inter-county commerce. YES let us stop being so simple minded in a city that touts its open mindedness as a virtue and be supportive of this. Before you say no because you don't think it's economically feasible look at all of the benefits that bringing the money from this county could bring to our community.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

The united states is not Europe. Germany has 100 million people living in an area the size of Michigan (which has 10million). without population density, trains, light rail etc. will not work. Places where rail has succeeded Chicago, Newyork, Toronto etc. have the necessary population densities. Ann Arbor and Howell would not qualify as having the necessary population density.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 6:51 p.m.

The towns this would be serving just don't have the density to make this viable. Central Brighton has very few households -- they're all spread out. And it doesn't sound as though people are going to be able to park easily at the new stations. Imagine that you live in a subdivision off Grand River in Howell. You have to drive to the station, struggle to find parking, wait for a shuttle bus in winter when you get to Ann Arbor, and pay handsomely for the privilege. Existing transit lines in similar situations (cf. Chelsea express buses) have failed to attract riders. I'm not against train service per se, and I think beefing up Amtrak lines to permit high-speed service is a worthwhile investment. But this is just not feasible.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

Well if it ain't dead yet, let's take it out back and put it out of it's misery. After we had pasted Europe into near oblivion during WWII, they had the wonderful opportunity to re-build their transportation infrastructure centered around rail: trains, trolleys, subways. We chose to go another route and build the interstate highway system. Both have served their purpose, but it will be near impossible to convert from one to the other now. If Mr Heiftje wants to play train so badly, perhaps we should just take up a collection and buy him a Lionel set. As Robert M points out, he could then play choo choo all he wants.

Phillip Farber

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 6:12 p.m.

Naysayers: try thinking outside the (automotive) box. Check out the state-of-the-art facilities in France, Spain, China and Japan. We're becoming a third world backwater compared to them. We can join the 21st century if we have the will to make the public expenditures to make it happen. Or we can continue to play road warrior on I-94.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:52 p.m.

I would love to have this as an option, but I just dont beleive it will ever happen. If it does not go downtown, it will die. Nobody wants to take a train then a bus.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:33 p.m.

I think it would be a grand old time hopping the train in the summer with the family for a stop at Whitmore Lake and enjoying one or several malty beverages before the ride home. Maybe even taking some sort of connector bus to Independence Lake or one of Metroparks along the way. Perhaps we'd even consider exploring Howell or even Brighton? It would be great to get out of the bubble and see different faces once in awhile without the responsibility of driving. Good golly, maybe even someday I'll be able to drive my car onto a train and arrive at a vacation destination up north without needing to spend a day recovering from the drive.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:29 p.m.

"Top Cat, public transit means you can spend your commute catching up on your friends' Facebook updates on your iPhone, rather than paying attention to the road." yes yes yes that's all very hip and would look good on an Apple commercial and all, but if I do all that stuff on the train going to work, what the heck am I going to do when I'm at work?!?


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

This is a waste of taxpayer money. If the project cannot support itself without subsidies then it is a bogus project. Yet one more example of the nanny state "forcing" behavior changes that people do not want to make. Logo: You suggest a subsidy since the UM derives it money from the taxpayer.

Stephen Landes

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:18 p.m.

1200 riders per day times $145 per monthly pass times 12 months per year yields something over $2M, The operating budget is $7M. I want to see how the $5M subsidy is being justified: what offsetting cost savings to the public will there be to make this $5M annual investment worth while? Someone should have quantified this before now, so lets see the detail. There should be a substantial return on investment for this to pay out.

scooter dog

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

Makes about as much sense as the billions wasted on the space agency


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:05 p.m.

Please kill this useless project. What a waste of money.

David Cahill

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 4:55 p.m.

R. I. P.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

Please just stop. This boondoggle is not financially viable. Nor can the rural stations support the extra traffic if it were viable. Support for this project has gone from absurd to criminal. At first, they claimed it would be supported by private investment. That never materialized. Now they want a millage. All this for a project they claim 1,300 daily riders for (very generous, I read the report). But that's for the full project as proposed, not the pared-down one they're talking about now. This needs to stop. We can't afford to waste money on boondoggles at a time like this.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

apparently nothing dies as long as you keep throwing money at it, even when it really should

Andrew Thomas

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 4:08 p.m.

Or (gasp!) reading a daily newspaper (if you can find one).

Top Cat

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 4 p.m.

I'm no expert on mass transit. The closest I come is my Lionel train set. However, the estimate of 1200 round trip riders per day does not seem plausible. Who exactly are these 1200 people, where to they live and why will they give up the convenience of their cars?

Atticus F.

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 3:51 p.m.

What a sickening waste of money.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

It makes no sense to build new lanes on 23 for hundreds of millions. This is the way to go. Happy to see this is still rolling. Another round of Federal funding could put it over the top. The UM offer to buy the ticket for all their employee's will make this go.