Local News

Public Less Satisfied With Metro Transportation

Louisville Metro residents are dissatisfied with parts of its transportation service, according to results from Louisville’s Merger 2.0 Task Force survey.

On Wednesday, Louisville’s Merger 2.0 Task Force release its survey, which measures public response to Metro Government services. The biggest disparity was in public transportation, where around 50 percent say they’re dissatisfied with the service. But responding to the survey may be difficult.

When asked what public transportation changes would satisfy people, the results showed a disparity divided among income levels. People with lower income say more bus stops, or better service routes would increase their satisfaction. Where people with higher income say they would like to see a light rail system.

“The discussion about light rail is a broader discussion about what kind of community we want Louisville to grow up and be. The focus on bus service is about they I need to be able to get to a job, I need to be able to get to an education, to medical services and so forth,” said TARC Executive Director Barry Barker.

Barker said he wasn’t surprised by the survey results, but any changes to TARC will rely on more funding. Barker has had conversations with Mayor Greg Fischer, but is uncertain what changes, if any, Fischer will make, he said. But he expects Fischer will take the survey seriously.

“I’ve found the mayor in my dealing to be very responsive. He certainly is not going to go through this effort and not do something with it,” said Barker.

Merger 2.0 Task Force subcommittees have until Oct. 1 to make recommendations to Fischer.

David Allgood is vice chair of the transportation subcommittee. He says subcommittee discussions always come back to funding. But Allgood says there may be a few recommendations that the subcommittee will make that may save money in the transportation budget.

Environment Local News

High Speed Rail: Too Costly or Imperative?

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says high speed rail would be a boon for Louisville.  A federal grant recently awarded to the Georgia Department of Transportation would help it examine the feasibility of a route from Chicago to Atlanta, with stops in Louisville and Nashville.  But George Mason University transportation economist Dr. Kenneth Button says high speed rail isn’t worth the trouble.

“The difficulty with high speed rail is it costs an awful lot of money and the return is negligible. If you look at Europe, there’s one line that covers its costs, Paris-Lyon, and there’s one line in Japan that covers its cost, Tokyo-Osaka.  If people aren’t willing to pay to travel by rail, why should the taxpayer subsidize it?”

Button says tickets are expensive, and so is the development of the necessary infrastructure.  He says the better option for the environment would be to charge people for the trips they already take via automobile, which would encourage them to drive less.