O Ye of Little Faith in Transit-Oriented Development
There is a decent article in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch about proposals for transit-oriented development in St. Louis. I say “decent” because it has a lot of good information, but it also misses out on a few key points and never attempts to question government involvement in all of these projects. Read the article carefully, and then tell me if you can find one proposal discussed at all that does not involve significant government subsidies. Is transit-oriented development really profitable if every project depends on things like this?
That changed last fall, when the federal government made $1.5 billion in transportation funding available as part of its economic stimulus package. Metro and McCormack Baron partnered to apply for $19 million, a good chunk of the $43.2 million it would take to build the development project.
How can someone really say the following when every TOD project around MetroLink has been subsidized?
“There’s a market out there for this,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve quite recognized it yet.”
Look, I’d love to be wrong about this, and will gladly correct myself if someone can give me an example of a TOD project that succeeded on its own merits. Furthermore, I am fully aware that developments of all types in Missouri have been taxpayer subsidized, as I, along with others here at the Show-Me Institute, have also argued against. But I won’t buy into any dreams of St. Louis becoming a mass transit mecca until I see one TOD that succeeds without the crutch of the taxpayer subsidy. I expect to wait a long time.