Lyon’s Rhônexpress Project Pioneers a New Way of Thinking About Public-Private Partnerships

Rhônexpress Banner

» France’s southeastern metropolis readies a downtown-airport connection with help from the private sector.

After the collapse of the massive London Underground PPP scheme early this month, the future of major private involvement in the maintenance and operation of public transit systems was put on the skids. There, the city took back full control of a system whose maintenance and reconstruction had been signed off to private entities less than ten years before, claiming that municipal entities would be able to do the job keeping up the network more easily than had the PPP partners. Though there is no technical reason why such cooperation between the public and private sector had to fall apart, the recession underlined the vulnerability of having corporations assume risk over vital public resources.

The signing of a contract to operate two new transit lines between the Denver transit system and the private Denver Transit

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Barcelona’s Metro Continues Its Expansion at a Relatively Cheap Price

Barcelona Line 9 Tunnel

» The latest segment of lines 9 and 10 opened last week. The city should have 30 miles of automatic metros by 2014.

Over the next ten years, New York, Los Angeles, and Barcelona each hope to have new underground rapid transit lines up and running. Gotham will spend $4.5 billion on a 1.7-mile line under Second Avenue. Los Angeles will get a 8.6-mile extension to the Westside for $6 billion. And Barcelona will have built 30 miles of automated subways for €6.5 billion ($7.9 billion according to today’s exchange rate).

Perhaps it’s an unfair comparison: Spain has lower labor costs, and despite Barcelona’s international prestige and high densities, land values there are generally lower than in the two American metropolises. But the disparity in infrastructure creation remains dramatic; countries like Spain and China are able to build far more than American cities can even dream about.

Barcelona’s newest

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Once Assured, Dallas Light Rail Expansion to Airport Now Off Track

Dallas DART DFW Airport

» A project that cheered suburban officials hoping for more economic development lacks adequate funding.

If the recession taught us anything, it’s that long-term fiscal projections aren’t to be trusted. After pulling together a massive 25-year expansion plan just four years ago based on assumptions of decades of increased tax revenues, Dallas’ DART has had to pull back dramatically, putting in purgatory all planned capital projects not yet under construction.

Now under threat: the long-planned light rail connection to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

It’s not that DART’s management has committed serious financial malpractice, it’s just that its guesses in 2006 about how the economy would expand haven’t played out as expected. Just as importantly, though Dallas is at the heart of one of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan regions, the population within the district DART serves is becoming less wealthy compared to the national average and especially compared to unserved (and

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Weekend Links

London St Pancras International

» This week’s big news. Open thread in the comments.

Follow my Twitter account (@ttpolitic) to get news in real time.

On The Transport Politic:

Readying streetcar plans, Cincinnati considers reducing parking requirements
Philadelphia may accept money to privatize station naming; Pittsburgh considers similar move
Seattle’s North Link light rail, originally considered for highway-running, may be partially tunneled
Alberta dedicates $2 billion to transit programs

Making existing transit work better

Reinforcing the sense that the top priority for transit systems around the country is getting to a state of good repair, Chicago announces that it has a $24 billion backlog to get its elevated, commuter, and bus lines back in order.
After an evaluation, Charlotte comes to the conclusion that it loses a total of $300 a day to fare beaters on its light rail system, hardly making a dent in

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Alberta Dedicates $2 Billion to Transit Programs

Calgary Light Rail

» Commitment will improve chances of new rail transit lines in Edmonton and Calgary.

In the United States, the federal government plays a very important role in the construction of new transit systems through the awarding of billions of dollars annually with the New Starts grants process. Over the past fifty years, virtually every new rail line and most new bus rapid transit lines have been constructed with most money coming from Washington.

In Canada, the federal government plays a similarly important role in many cases; Vancouver’s Canada Line is named as such because of the significant involvement of Ottawa when sources of financing were being established. Yet many other system expansions have been built thanks to the largess of provincial governments, which are more autonomous than U.S. states. Toronto’s huge Transit City plan, though now diminished in scale, remains principally financed thanks to the Ontario government. The announcement last

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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