From Judy Daubenmier at "Living Blue"
And they urged the county commisison to at least study the proposed WALLY commuter rail line between Howell and Ann Arbor -- a project supported by chambers of commerce in Brighton and Howell, as well as by the city of Howell and Hamburg Township.
Good ole WALLY trains. It's like Eminem or the band Green Day and that awful voice. When you think it goes away, it comes back and gets worse.
We had studies on WALLY. The county commission, rightly so, said no tax money goes to WALLY. There's been several estimates on WALLY costs. The latest from AA Chronicle is 9 million for trains, 4.3 million for station fundings, 7.1 million annual funding. They expect 1300 passengers a day. 1300 passengers a day? That covers jacksquat.
In 2009, they asked for 32 million in startup. Their 07 budget said the budget was 5 million a year.
According to the startup budget given in 2007, which was increased, I said you needed 1814 commuters a day, including weekends to break even.
"4.9 million will cover what? You have salaries, security, normal wear and tear, energy costs, and runs. 2.9 for startup? Between the trains, parking lot construction, training, etc? I'm skeptical. Even using that number, will you get a profit on that. 15,000 people (estimated number of commuters from Livingston to Ann Arbor at $225 a month (rumored price) will get you 3.37 Million a month - that's if EVERY commuter in the county uses it and pays that amount. I'm guessing most of the commuters to Ann Arbor are in Brighton, Hartland, and Hamburg. Hamburg has 20,000 people. I'll guess that 4000 of them commute to Ann Arbor, with 1000 in Howell (city has 10000 people) commuting. That'll give 5000 of the areas covered from the train. 5000 * 225 - 1.125 million a month - if all commute on the train. Anyone familiar with Hamburg knows how spread out it is. Part of it is "Brighton", most of it is "Pinckney", part of it is "Lakeland", and part of it is "Whitmore Lake". I'll be shocked if most of the commuters are going to drive a few miles to wait for the train. This area is spread out. Howell is denser, but has much less population - and it too is spread out a bit in its eastern and northern most areas near 59 - and forget about getting much help from Genoa (even with the Chilson stop - that area is flat out country), Marion, Howell Twp, and Oceola.
In order to cover the estimated operation costs from regular commuters - you need 408,334 a month - 1814 commuters a day (including weekends, so weekend warriors are very important). That leaves 2.9 million in debt from startup costs which can be paid for over a few years with good profit.
Can you get 15-20% of county's Ann Arbor commuters to use the train EVERY DAY - despite cutting out Brighton and Hartland from the route? If you can, then I'll cook up some fried crow.""
This train does not cover Brighton, Hartland, Fenton/Tyrone, South Lyon, or Pinckney. The railroad tracks in Brighton are from the C&O railroad, not the Ann Arbor Railroad. The only area covered with ANY density is Howell. The rest is all spread out. They spin by calling Chilson Rd "Brighton", which is a stretch to say the least. That area is flat out country. Whitmore Lake is spread out outside of a small part. Hamburg is very spread out. All these people who consider the train have to drive to the station.
From where I live in Green Oak, I can get to Ann Arbor in 20 minutes, in rush hour, avoiding US-23. I don't commute there anymore, but that's the route I took for years if 23 was a problem.
If you want to enact more mass transit in Livingston County, busses are more efficient and cheaper. That's too low brow for the leftist yuppies though. This is what they think constitutes "Smart leadership and Smart Growth." The democrats criticize the county airport (and may have a case there), but push for higher costing WALLY?
County Parks. Dane Morris talks about that, but we have plenty of parks here. Brighton Rec area. Island Lake. Kensington. Pinckney Rec area. Do we need more county spending on that? Money that we don't have right now.
Smart Growth. Kelly Raskausas (My old district) and Barry McBride (my current district) keep mentioning those and other similar buzzwords without detailing them in their speeches (at Living blue). For those who don't know, "Smart Growth" is a new urbanist theory that comes from the coasts, especially the left coast (Portland). It pushes for central city development, compact neighborhoods, mixed use housing (apartments, not detached homes), car unfriendliness, and lots of restrictions on what we can do with our land.
Be aware of what the buzzwords really mean.