Commuter Rail Plan for Jackson County
I guess because we are always going somewhere, transit issues never seem to go away. Just today, we have the details of a proposed new commuter rail system for Jackson County. The plan details can be found here in the Kansas City Star. For more info, KC Light Rail has some thoughts about it here.
You might think that because we have released two studies by Randal O’Toole, one criticizing light rail and one criticising high-speed rail, that we might automatically be opposed to a commuter rail plan. That supposition would be premature, though, primarily because I haven’t had time to get to know the details, but also because there are things about commuter rail in general — and this plan in particular — that might make it a more cost-effective way for Kansas City to go.
Below, I have bolded some of the plan’s good ideas, as reported in the Star article:
Sanders said the commuter rail system could be built for as little as $7 million per mile, using existing rail corridors throughout the area. In some areas, double tracks would need to be laid to avoid conflicts between freight and commuter lines.
Sanders said the rail plan could be operational in two years after money becomes available. It would use diesel-powered commuter railcars that could travel faster and more cheaply than light rail, which can cost $70 million per mile.
The best idea, though, is this one at the end:
One option: A private company might operate the system.
So, I will be responsible and reserve judgment for now, but I will have much more to say when, and if, this plan moves forward.