I read with interest William L. Lind’s commentary in the Feb. 17-23 issue of the Herald Weekly. Lind is a nationally known conservative and a long standing supporter of public rail transit. He can be counted on to offer support for projects such as the Red Line, as long as the price is right.

Lind’s view of the Red Line appears to follow the rationale that commuter rail is a wonderful thing for upscale residents who can afford to pay the fare, while ignoring the enormous government subsidies needed to support those lines when they are not economically viable. In the case of the Red Line the proposal is to spend half a billion dollars to transport 5,000 upscale residents a day (the 5,000 figure comes from the consultants who support the Red Line, not some libertarian nay sayer). When even the most ardent commuter line supporter came to realize that the project was not economically viable, the last minute freight corridor concept was added on. But, at the end of the day, this is a commuter rail scheme. A half-billion dollars to transport 5,000 people a day.

Over the coming weeks we are going to be bombarded by comments and opinions from those in favor of and opposed to the Red Line. Each side will present arguments as to why the world as we know it will end if the line is approved or not approved. In view of this I have concluded that there are some basic facts to keep in mind:

First, the consultants and experts in favor of the Red Line are being paid for by taxpayer dollars. Strange, isn’t it, that we have to have our tax dollars spent in order to convince us to spend yet more tax dollars?

Second, the far sighted Red Line supporters and their consultants forgot to check with the rail road company to see if they could even use the tracks. Now we find that the rail road is not in line with the Red Line.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, we must remember that the people who want to bring us the Red Line are the same folks who brought us such financial disasters as the NASCAR Hall of Fame and MI- Connection. In view of this we have to view their rosy financial projections with a jaundiced eye: convoluted tax districts; joint operating authorities; and, at the end of the day, the taxpayers end up holding the bill for a half billion dollars. Basically, you can’t believe a word they say.

The Red Line is a train wreck.

– Tom MacDonald, Davidson