Originally Posted by Novacek
It wasn't the red line that made CapMetro light rail impossible. It was the quarter cent givebacks and the rest of the unbalanced budget.
Just for fun, let's run the numbers on an alternative history where the 2004 vote didn't happen, or somehow failed (even though it passed by a larger margin than any other pass/fail rail vote margin).
So instead of spending that ~$120M on the red line, CapMetro has that money in the bank. And they someone avoid spending it on any other project. And they someone avoid the political pressure to use it on some other project. And they someone avoid the political pressure to give up the quarter cent rail tax. And they somehow avoid the political pressure for further give backs or rebates. And they somehow avoid the pressure to have that fund raided for suburban road projects. And they somehow avoid the political pressure to not raise fares while they have that huge balance.
(you can tell how likely I think this is)
So to that $120M in 2010, each year we add the operating expenses for the red line. If I remember I think it started out as $13M a year and is now up to $17M per year, but just to simplify things let's use $17M per year.
For these purposes, we're pretending we get to keep that whole $17M, which wouldn't actually be true. We still have to provide commuter service to Leander (but with buses instead). And we lose the expensive rail fares (now up to like $2M a year). And we still have that freight line we have to maintain. And we'll pretend that the red line doesn't bring in any additional federal grants for operating expenses (it does). And we'll pretend that the existence of the red line (and the dense development it encourages) doesn't have any positive impact on overall sales tax receipts.
And we pretend that we don't have to provide any additional expensive late-night service as an anti-DUI service, like they do for the red line.
In what year do we have enough money in the bank account to pay for the 2000 light rail system. And at this point, let's pretend its operating expenses are less than the red lines, so are covered going forward by the $17M per year (it's not).
2024 is when we'll have the rail.
Except that was the price in 2007. It's way more expensive in 2024. If we figure 2% inflation, in 2024 we need $540M, which is way more than we have yet.
(at some point past this, we'll finally have enough, since the $17M operating expenses will inflate as well, and presumably some interest from the money in the bank).
But you're still looking at something like 2030*.
*So again, how likely do you think it is that CapMetro could keep the .25% tax this whole time (25 years), given that they'd been forced to rebate or suspend it twice before.