Mass transit continues to prove itself to be expensive, unpopular, and unprofitable–even when it "debuted as the least expensive commuter rail to be built in the United States" and when high gas prices are in the headlines every day.
Tenessee's Music City Star line is completely dysfunctional. Transiteers were shocked to discover that insurance, station security, and marketing cost money (who could have known!?). The inevitable $1.7 million shortfall resulted.
The Feds, who contributed some big bucks to the project, aren't pleased. When even the federal government wants its money back, you know things are bad:
The Federal Transit Administration, which invested more than $30 million in the 2006 start-up of the Lebanon-to-Nashville commuter line, would demand its money back from the Regional Transportation Authority and the return of all assets if the Music City Star were to stop running, it wrote in a letter to local authorities this week.
Note: That's Lebanon, Tennessee. Sadly, there is still no Orient Express originating in Nashville. The line was launched in 2006, however, about the same time as the Israel-Lebanon War. Coincidence?
How spectacular is the failure?:
In the first year, ridership fell considerably short of consultant projections of 1,479 daily trips. It's now averaging about half that number and recorded 938 trips on its best single day.
Via alert reader Jason Bates