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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

emathias Jun 13, 2009 3:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4287173)
...
^ You know, I would love to see Ald Flores actually try to bring this up and try to get an ordinance passed. Since all it takes is one Alderman to back these things, why not do something that would benefit the city, as opposed to wasting everybody's time banning foie gras and street drummers, and now with Ald Ed Burke pushing to require red light camera ticketeers to go to driving school.

FYI (from an email out of Reilly's office, no less):

Quote:

CTA Transit-Friendly Development Typology Open House

The CTA and the Chicago Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning will be holding an open house on the CTA Station Area Typology Study, to discuss transit-friendly development around CTA rail stations system-wide. Two meetings will be held at the following locations, are accessible to people with disabilities:

North:
Monday, June 22, 2009
6:00- 8:00pm
Chicago Public Library
Sulzer Regional Library
4455 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL60625
312.744.7616

South:
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
6:00- 8:00pm
Chicago Urban LeagueCenter
4510 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL60653
773.258.5800

For more information please call or e-mail:
Ryan Mouw, Senior Government Relations Officer, Chicago Transit Authority at 312.681.2751 or rmouw@transitchicago.com.

the urban politician Jun 13, 2009 5:49 AM

^ GREAT news.

I know Viva will be excited. Where are you, Viva? Lets hear it

arenn Jun 13, 2009 3:00 PM

What is the cost/incremental rider of this expansion? I need to download the documents I guess.

Jaroslaw Jun 13, 2009 5:24 PM

American mass transit prices are the highest in the world... In Seoul the recent 61km train link to the new airport is coming in at about $50 million a mile, and a third of that is in tunel... The recently opened line 9 (25.5km) has cost about $100 million per mile, all in deep tunnel.1 But then it's a private enterprise, something apparently unimaginable in America--with major participation by Macquire (England), and Veolia (France). Same with the new Bundang line (18.5km), around $50 million per mile, all underground, private 30-year concession.2,3

1 http://english.seoul.go.kr/today/new...9872_3675.html

2 http://info.korail.com/ROOT/cambo-vi...d=757&lang=eng

3 http://www.railwaygazette.com/news_v...etro_line.html

ardecila Jun 14, 2009 3:17 AM

Asian countries do not have union labor - a big factor that lowers construction costs and allows their transportation networks to expand much more quickly than ours.

Chicago also has a problem with cronyism, where contractors with political connections tend to get the biggest civil projects.

Finally, restrictions on construction send costs through the roof, as construction on certain projects only takes place at night to pose minimal slowdowns to traffic.

There are many other factors too, but those are the biggest ones. I too am frustrated by the high cost of civil projects (and therefore the huge political challenge in finding money for them).

VivaLFuego Jun 14, 2009 5:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaroslaw (Post 4304211)
American mass transit prices are the highest in the world... In Seoul the recent 61km train link to the new airport is coming in at about $50 million a mile, and a third of that is in tunel... The recently opened line 9 (25.5km) has cost about $100 million per mile, all in deep tunnel.1 But then it's a private enterprise, something apparently unimaginable in America--with major participation by Macquire (England), and Veolia (France). Same with the new Bundang line (18.5km), around $50 million per mile, all underground, private 30-year concession.2,3

1 http://english.seoul.go.kr/today/new...9872_3675.html

2 http://info.korail.com/ROOT/cambo-vi...d=757&lang=eng

3 http://www.railwaygazette.com/news_v...etro_line.html

Isn't Macquarie Australian?

Anyway, some of these drivers of higher domestic transit costs have already been mentioned:
1. "Buy America" requirements for minimum percentage of domestic materials and labor including all final assembly (this subsequently impacts the relative ability to take advantage of economies of scale, in contrast to similar requirements for road projects i.e. Veolia has a large office in Chicago, but not much in the way of tunnel engineering/construction expertise staffed here).
2. Very high regulatory costs in the planning and environmental impact stages - both in terms of time, labor, and resulting project modifications, which in turn increase design costs and often construction costs based on mitigating those impacts.
3. The obvious one, union construction labor costs.

A big part of the 'problem' or 'cause' is really just a combination of the domestic political culture and some specific federal regulations. If it's to change, those would be the targets - definitely not a lowly local transit operator or even a metropolitan planning agency.

Jaroslaw Jun 14, 2009 5:58 PM

Macquire might be Australian, right.

The larger issue: just one more of the inner contradictions of modern left-wing politics: "we want more mass transit, and more government regulations. Green transit, and environmental regulations that strangle transit development." :koko:

ChicagoChicago Jun 15, 2009 3:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaroslaw (Post 4305667)
Macquire might be Australian, right.

The larger issue: just one more of the inner contradictions of modern left-wing politics: "we want more mass transit, and more government regulations. Green transit, and environmental regulations that strangle transit development." :koko:

Correct, Macquarie is Australian. Their US headquarters is in Chicago (Sears Tower).

I'd say the largest hurdles for mass transit costs are labor and right-of-way costs.

Mr Downtown Jun 15, 2009 5:19 PM

I think the engineering consultants are a big part of the unbelievable costs of US transit projects. Pretty much every project of any size will be a consortium with PB at the lead. With virtually no competition to keep them lean, they gold-plate everything from the alternatives analysis to the catenary.

orulz Jun 15, 2009 5:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4307256)
I think the engineering consultants are a big part of the unbelievable costs of US transit projects. Pretty much every project of any size will be a consortium with PB at the lead. With virtually no competition to keep them lean, they gold-plate everything from the alternatives analysis to the catenary.

The New Starts and NEPA processes themselves are at the core of the problem. They require huge expenses on consultants, and in many cases give too much voice to NIMBYs. We are the only place in the world where a planned transit line must first spend at least 10 years percolating through an incredibly detailed process: the MIS, Alternatives Analysis, Preliminary Engineering, and EIS project, with months of public comments at every stage - before even being given final consideration for funding (FFGA).

This is a textbook case of bureaucracy gone haywire. New Starts was implemented with the explicit purpose of making it more difficult to build transit lines. All of this for a (these days) meager 50% federal share.

ChicagoChicago Jun 15, 2009 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 4307276)
The New Starts and NEPA processes themselves are at the core of the problem. They require huge expenses on consultants, and in many cases give too much voice to NIMBYs. We are the only place in the world where a planned transit line must first spend at least 10 years percolating through an incredibly detailed process: the MIS, Alternatives Analysis, Preliminary Engineering, and EIS project, with months of public comments at every stage - before even being given final consideration for funding (FFGA).

This is a textbook case of bureaucracy gone haywire. New Starts was implemented with the explicit purpose of making it more difficult to build transit lines. All of this for a (these days) meager 50% federal share.

Well said. There truly needs to be reform in this area. By the time most of these things get the green light, they're already obsolete.

lawfin Jun 15, 2009 6:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaroslaw (Post 4304211)
American mass transit prices are the highest in the world... In Seoul the recent 61km train link to the new airport is coming in at about $50 million a mile, and a third of that is in tunel... The recently opened line 9 (25.5km) has cost about $100 million per mile, all in deep tunnel.1 But then it's a private enterprise, something apparently unimaginable in America--with major participation by Macquire (England), and Veolia (France). Same with the new Bundang line (18.5km), around $50 million per mile, all underground, private 30-year concession.2,3

1 http://english.seoul.go.kr/today/new...9872_3675.html

2 http://info.korail.com/ROOT/cambo-vi...d=757&lang=eng

3 http://www.railwaygazette.com/news_v...etro_line.html

What would be the approx cost of brand new subway versus el per mile in chicago? for comparison sake?

I have no idea....I am guessing 1/2 billion a mile? but that is pure guess

Busy Bee Jun 16, 2009 2:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 4307276)
The New Starts and NEPA processes themselves are at the core of the problem. They require huge expenses on consultants, and in many cases give too much voice to NIMBYs. We are the only place in the world where a planned transit line must first spend at least 10 years percolating through an incredibly detailed process: the MIS, Alternatives Analysis, Preliminary Engineering, and EIS project, with months of public comments at every stage - before even being given final consideration for funding (FFGA).

This is a textbook case of bureaucracy gone haywire. New Starts was implemented with the explicit purpose of making it more difficult to build transit lines. All of this for a (these days) meager 50% federal share.

Hopefully Obama and Lahood can shake this bullshit up. Right now its an absolute disgrace.

ardecila Jun 16, 2009 5:11 AM

There is, in fact, a bill introduced to Congress that would reformulate transportation funding procedures. Transit and highways would no longer be considered as separate categories, but as equal contenders for the same pot of money, based on the projected traffic/ridership that said projects would generate.

The only differentiation would be by projected cost, with 4 different brackets from the most expensive to the least. Within each bracket, both highways and transit would vie for the same money.

Of course, under such a system, there is rampant incentive to inflate the projected traffic/ridership, so USDOT will need to establish regulations to discourage cheaters.

whyhuhwhy Jun 16, 2009 3:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4308329)
Hopefully Obama and Lahood can shake this bullshit up. Right now its an absolute disgrace.

I highly doubt Obama of all people is going to roll back environmental and government regulations.

orulz Jun 16, 2009 3:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whyhuhwhy (Post 4309076)
I highly doubt Obama of all people is going to roll back environmental and government regulations.

As I said before, New Starts is not a "government regulation" in the traditional sense. It was a program designed to make it difficult to build transit projects, in order to curtail the amount of money being spent on them. (and it also had the effect of redirecting a lot of the money that is spent, towards consultants)

I sincerely doubt that Obama will do anything to change the NEPA though. Highways and transit projects will probably both continue to be equally affected.

Something that gets me about the NEPA though, is that if you look at an EIS from the 1980s, and compare it with one from today, the one from today is about 10 times longer. And to the best of my knowledge there haven't been any significant changes to the actual law that says what must be included in an EIS. Part of it is just the consultants finding more work for themselves, and the "expectation" for what an EIS looks like has gradually crept upwards.

emathias Jun 16, 2009 4:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaroslaw (Post 4304211)
American mass transit prices are the highest in the world... In Seoul the recent 61km train link to the new airport is coming in at about $50 million a mile, and a third of that is in tunel... The recently opened line 9 (25.5km) has cost about $100 million per mile, ...

Check out costs in Madrid for their recent metro expansion, too. Much lower than any American subway project.

VivaLFuego Jun 16, 2009 4:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 4309121)
As I said before, New Starts is not a "government regulation" in the traditional sense. It was a program designed to make it difficult to build transit projects, in order to curtail the amount of money being spent on them.

Not exactly - the program has proven very useful at building light rail lines in sparse auto-centric cities that don't need them and thus have to cut bus service to pay to operate them. The program is certainly biased against cities with existing transit networks and high transit utilization - which makes it all the more of a coup that Kruesi got two reconstruction projects funded as New Starts.

It's not there to make building transit projects difficult - it's there to make building transit projects difficult without heavy federal involvement and the additional layer of political dealmaking and favoritism involved therein (as the ongoing drama with WMATA's Dulles extension demonstrates, as well as with the Cermak Branch reconstruction, the supposedly objective cost effectiveness criteria fly out the window when politics demands so). As with most expansion of government regulation and involvement at all levels of government, it's about power and control much moreso than any ideological or philosophical goal.

lawfin Jun 16, 2009 4:46 PM

Was not sure if this belonged here or somewhere else:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...68683.htmlpage

ChicagoChicago Jun 16, 2009 5:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 4309279)
Was not sure if this belonged here or somewhere else:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...68683.htmlpage

Interesting to see the ridership declines on the far north and south ends of the Red line. Obviously, I understand the increase in the Loop and north routes.


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