The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2002

More Opinion from a Cabal Friend

From the Cabalmaster:

The Washington Post ran a detailed story August 3rd on how totally lacking in ethics (most) economists are, including some professors. I find it very true and have also found Harvard to be a den of iniquity at least in the School of Government and the Business School. The Medical School may be first rate.

I both agree and disagree with Dr. George Smerk, a very fine person. Yes, cost benefit ratios and the Holy Bible can be used to prove any point, BUT they can not be so used by honest people with a grain of intelligence.

It comes back to the old addage that "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure."

We would have no science without numbers but just because we have some numbers does not make them honest or correct. For cost benefit ratios, just look at the record. Light Rail in Buffalo, Portland and Pittsburgh each increased downtown business by twenty (20) percent. That makes jobs, and higher tax collection to pay the bills. In Salt Lake City after one year, downtown business increased about 15 percent.

In Northern Virginia, MetroRail reduced property tax rates forty (40) percent and at the same time, earned a 19 percent annual return on the state's share of the investment. KPMG twice confirmed that, but can we trust auditors? The tax rate confirms it. In Dallas, the university found that DART LRT increased property values 25 percent more than other Dallas property. Seattle should seek the truth, not just negative sound bytes.

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