City Not Idiotic
posted by July 26 at 15:14 PMon
Some folks took issue with my characterization, in the Morning News, of Emory Bundy’s Crosscut piece criticizing light rail for its supposedly enormous environmental impact. (I called it “idiocy.”)
Anyway, someone less glib than me has written a comprehensive takedown of Bundy’s idiotic argument. Here are just two of his excellent points:
First off, Bundy only considers the carbon cost of operating an automobile in the comparison. Emory does not consider the equivalent cost of building and maintaining roads and freeways. True, those roads and freeways will continue to be maintained regardless of whether light rail is constructed or not, but he also does not consider that light rail combined with rising gasoline costs will reduce traffic substantially enough to make it unnecessary to expand existing roads and construct new ones. […]
Bundy [also] completely ignores the carbon costs of building (and the useful lives of) cars and trains. Cars are not built to last, because auto manufacturers know that we will dispose of cars long before the end of their useful lives—after less than 10 years. Trains last for 40 years or more as my sister, the economist with a scary knowledge of the economics of transportation, pointed out. In other words, Bundy failed to consider if effective light rail and greater density will encourage people to purchase fewer (or no) cars at greater intervals, and how this compares to the carbon cost of building trains versus buses.
Read the whole thing here.