Memphis has evidently shelved plans to install light rail running from downtown to the airport and connecting the region’s three largest employment centers. Cost was the issue–$4 million in annual subsidy + $50 million-$122 million (quite a wide range) for construction over seven years.
I have to say that in the grand scheme of capital projects, that doesn’t seem like all that much money to me, especially in a city with a $590 million plus general fund and $190 million in capital improvement projects. Besides, if the city were to get creative and use something like a “tax increment financing” district to capture revenue from new development along the rail line, that money spent building and subsidizing the line could ultimately get offset.
At any rate, I hope Memphis City Council reconsiders. It seems like a reasonably priced starter line for a city that already has bus and frequent trolley service and the potential for greater transit usage.
Good news is that Florida will be getting solid federal funding to develop high-speed intercity rail to compete with drivers, with trains going perhaps twice as fast as cars could go…with no traffic.