Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Light Rail in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids Corridor?

Todd Dorman wrote about the possibility of light rail between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

Local pols all over the country are salivating at the prospect of a big federal stimulus package bulging with infrastructure bucks. Visions of superhighways and bridges dance in their heads.

So what should be on our wish list? If I were king, I’d include light rail service between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Last I heard, the price tag for fixing up and expanding the old Crandic line to provide service to Cedar Rapids, North Liberty and on to Iowa City is around $70 million. [...]

It’s also a lot less than it would cost to add an extra lane to I-380, which, according to a story I found in our archives, would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

I know there are a lot of other worthy projects out there. Highway 100, U.S. 30 etc. Disaster-related needs are, obviously, a top priority.

But the economic, environmental, tourism and safety advantages of taking a chunk of drivers off 380 and putting them on a train are worth getting serious about. Enough with endless studies, let’s go for some bucks.

In the past year I’ve been to Denver, St. Louis and Minneapolis/St. Paul, all cities benefiting significantly from interurban light rail service. In each case the trams were convienent, fast and well-used, especially when gas prices were skyrocketing. And anyone who thinks that won’t happen again is commuting to fantasyland.

It’s not just for tree-huggers and snooty Europeans anymore.


Calvin said...

Great thinking. How do we make it happen?

Calvin said...

an after thought. It's tragic I'm the only one to comment. Almost a month later. Are there no other great thinkers or does nobody care?