Friday, January 22, 2010

Finding that streetcar money

Just finished an interview with Charlotte budget director Ruffin Hall (NOT Ruffin Poole, just in case you're confused by the Ruffins), to find where in the budget this $12 million was hiding. What $12 million? See yesterday's post. Or read on.

Of course, it isn't really hiding. The city staff is pointing to a variety of city funds (listed in the city budget) that still have money in them, funds set aside for just this sort of thing: a project that arises unexpectedly for which elected officials would like to find money.

In this instance, the city is considering whether to set aside $12 million, which it would spend if it gets a $25 million federal grant. The $37 million total would build a 1.5-mile first segment of a proposed 10-mile streetcar line. The City Council is to vote Monday on whether to apply for that grant (plus another one that would add hybrid electric buses). If the city can't find/isn't willing to spend the $12 million there's no point in applying for the grant. Here's a quick rundown of the $12 million:

First, it is capital expense money. That's a separate, $803 million budget apart from the overall $1 billion operating budget that pays for things such as police officers and garbage collection. (You may or may not like the idea of spending the $12 million but it isn't money that could be used to hire more police.) Remember, too, the airport and the water/sewer departments, while counted in the budget, are self-sustaining "enterprise funds." (Also here's the perennial reminder: The city doesn't pay for schools, parks and recreation, welfare, mental health facilities or a variety of other needs paid by the county or state.)

- $2.5 million in streetcar planning funds. Last summer, in a controversial vote, the City Council allocated $8 million for streetcar planning and engineering. The contract came in for less, and $2.5 million is available. You can find it on page 166 of the city budget. Here's a link. This comes from a pot of money called PAYGO (pay as you go). This budget year the city put roughly $96 million into this fund, which is spent for things like transit maintenance, street improvements, roof replacements, etc.

- $10.5 million in reserve for economic development initiatives. This isn't PAYGO money. It's money set aside to repay debt the city might choose to take on. The council's transportation committee members Thursday said they'd use $5.5 million of this fund. Look on page 163 of the budget.

- $ 7 million in business corridor revitalization funds. These, too are PAYGO funds, as yet unspent. The committee didn't want to do this.

- $4 million in Smart Growth fund. That brings us to a multimillion "Smart Growth" fund, which the committee recommends using as part of the needed $12 million. Many folks wonder: The city just has $4 million sitting around that we didn't know about? I asked Hall. It turns out the money isn't just sitting around in some secret account. It's been used to help with transit-oriented development along South Boulevard.

Hall said it's a revolving fund (i.e., the city replenishes it with money the fund itself generates) that the council hasn't put money into for years. Because it doesn't get money allocated to it, it's not a line item on the budget. It would be on the city's financial statement, he said. Here's a link to that. I ran out of time to do more than a search for "Smart Growth" which turned up nothing. (Other writing deadlines loom larger and larger as I type this.)

Hall said the Smart Growth fund was used, for instance, when the city spent money for its proposed Scaleybark transit oriented development project. When the city sold the land to a developer (the project is stuck in the recession and is delayed), the money went back into this fund. I have a call in to Economic Development director Tom Flynn, in whose department Hall said, the fund sits. Hall didn't know whether taking $4 million would drain the fund.
Update: Flynn just called. He says that when Scaleybark Partners, the developer, repays the city in February the Smart Growth fund will have $4 million in it. It was set up as a revolving fund 9 or 10 years ago, he said, to be used for projects of that sort.

Bottom line: Money is fungible. A smart city manager will always keep things flexible enough so he or she can find funds for projects the elected officials want - or for things that arise unexpectedly midyear. I want managers who can do that. At the same time, I think the public (and elected officials) are owed more transparency about how much money is sitting, awaiting expenditure. It's smart to have some reserve money. It's also smart, if you're a council member, to know just what your reserve money is and where it lives in your budget.

92 comments:

Anonymous said...

By all means, let us worry about streetcars when North Carolina is burdened with historically high unemployment. 11.2% at last measure.

Keep spending Democrats.

Anonymous said...

I knew the first comment would be political....

Thanks for taking the time to illustrate this - it's helpful to know how the money is allocated.

My prediction is it will be Foxx or Obama's fault in less then one hour.....start the clock.

diggndeeper said...

So I guess it is out of the question to "return" the money to the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow, so I guess we are getting this uneeded trolley. It will never get used, it will just be something to look at. Charlotte has it priorities all screwed up. Good Ole Dems!! Spend it up!

Larry said...

This trolley's future was assured with the promise of the Black Political Caucus to support the rejection of the repeal of the transit tax.

They did their part, and those elected officials will now have to do their part and get this waste of tax money into production just as soon as possible.

Politics at it finest in Charlotte/Mecklenburg.

CharlotteLightRail.com Click here

Anonymous said...

Wow so it will cost 37 million to build 1.5 miles of streetcar line? Gosh, that breaks out to only 24.6 million per mile so the whole 10 miles will only cost us 246 million? That seems a little excessive for a streetcar line that will NOT be self sustaining.

Anonymous said...

We've been through this 1000 times before. Even if a streetcar or light rail line doesn't 'sustain itself', it is still an assett to the city that helps move more people and spur development in various corridors, which in turn brings those tax dollars back. Roads and sewers don't sustain themselves either, but I see none of you complaining about that. Then again, perhaps dirt roads and outhouses worked just fine back in the day as well, right? The 1.5 mile project would demonstrate the popularity of the route, just as the old 2-mile trolley showed the possibility of light rail along that route. Of course, no one here wants to admit that the majority of the community appreciates what light rail has done for our city already, right? That would mean actually admitting that people like it.

Ray said...

Precisely what will be the average speed of this trolley? Would it actually be a viable means of transportation? Sorry, I had to ask.

BTW, if a check was cut to every man/woman/child in the city, each person would get $16.74, minus postage. Personally, I'd rather get *MY* $16 back than start a project that will continue to be a drain on the city budget for years or decades.

EastCoastMarc said...

$246 million to give bums a place to keep dry when it's raining. What a galactic waste of other peoples money. Those who pay for this garbage project will never use it. If it was worth it, private investors would be bidding for the contract to build and operate it.

Anonymous said...

At what level is plug-in hybrid technology regarding light rail/trolley systems? Is technology going to be available soon that would allow these short distance systems to operate without overhead power. That would make the cost much lower.

Ray said...

Sewers are self-sustaining, it's called a water bill.

Roads are self-sustaining, it's called a gas tax (and car tax and plate fee and inspection fee and any other additional fee the government can dream up to impose on those who drive).

How exactly would the trolley be self-sustaining by the people who use it?

Perhaps if not being self-sustaining is A-OK in your book, you could personally assist with my car payment and mortgage. They aren't self-sustaining.

Anonymous said...

Think again, gas taxes and car taxes only pay a portion of the roads. They are heavily subsidized by other sources. Perhaps a $500 toll at the on-ramp of an interstate would make this very clear to you.

consultant said...

Mary, great reporting.

Charlotte is doing the right thing.

Get the Fed money and build the darn thing. 20 years from now today's naysayers will be screaming, "don't touch my streetcar!"

Anonymous said...

If certain Char-Meck politicians & "uptowners" are dead set on both "clean/green" transportation & a trolley, here's the answer: instead of rail based trolley, build 2 lanes devoted to hybrid buses configured just like trolleys.

Advantages:

1] Fully loaded cost is 15-20% of light rail or rail based trolleys.

2] Hybrid buses are economical, clean, dependable, comfortable and quiet.

3] Significantly shorter construction and lead times.

4] ALL suppliers are local to this area, e.g. paving contractors, hybrid bus maker, etc., so local businesses benefit directly.

5] Both green and mass transit initiatives are met without ridiculous expense to taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

How can government keep worrying about streetcars when unemployment is rising. Who's going to pay for the streetcar if half the people are unemployed?

Anonymous said...

Streetcar: the worst of both worlds...

1. The traffic jams of vehicular traffic.

2. The lack of versatility of a light-rail line.

The most expensive, limited bus ever.

Mia said...

Very simple, put the money towards the blue line extension. Invest in something that has already proven it's worth. It will be more palatable to the public and has a definite need now. The trolley is a gamble at best, go with a sure thing - expand the blue line already!

Anonymous said...

remember the exitement (that spun into development) when city leaders announced they were bringing back the trolley in Southend? Boy, I wish Southend and Dilworth were they way they were 20 years ago....and the city didn't see any return on that investment in the form of taxes.
(sarcasm)

Anonymous said...

Do a YouTube search for "Metro's greatest hits"

Without the cross bar guards and flashing lights, trains and cars do not get along.

Anonymous said...

Stop spending, Charlotte must have gone shopping crazy! and

"Thanks for taking the time to illustrate this - it's helpful to know how the money is allocated."

This is what she does for a living! She writes this, for a living! Do you understand, she was "taking the time". Are you nutts?

James said...

Some people don't have a car to get to Eastland Mall, how do you expect them to get there! Walk!

Anonymous said...

More about Charlotte's long-running drama, DESIRE NAMED STREETCAR.

Anonymous said...

"Roads are self-sustaining, it's called a gas tax (and car tax and plate fee and inspection fee and any other additional fee the government can dream up to impose on those who drive)."

Utter nonsense, Ray. State and local roads are not financed by the gas tax nor by registration fees. They are mostly financed by property, sales, and income taxes.

Even federal roads are only 50% paid by gas taxes.

But I take it you favor a gas tax increase to make the roads self sustaining?

Anonymous said...

So, exactly what transportaion problem does this streetcar solve that no other method can?

Anonymous said...

Build out all the LYNX corridors first. This includes rail fir Independence, IMO.

Then a streetcar, if there's money.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great that we already have the money and could get more from the Fed with it for this. Unlike so many that post here, I know it would be used - by me, my family, my neighbors, and everyone else around the line. And I have seen first hand how things like this improve areas around them.

What a great day for Charlotte!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:57 - are you saying that since all reporters are writing, they're actually doing their job?
C'mon, there's more crapola in the news than there is actual news. What I was trying to say is that I'm glad SOMEONE took the time to publish the various 'pots' of money.

Anonymous said...

Just one more reason I can't wait leave the city. I refuse to live in an area that spends my hard earned money on bogus projects.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:30 what brought you to this city?

Anonymous said...

Lower Taxes verses the northeast. Don't get me wrong I like Charlotte, but it's losing it's appeal when the local government and the state government raise taxes every year.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 4:25,

I would definitely use a street car that runs up & down Park Rd.
Why is that not being considered? Have you seen the traffic on Park during the am & pm rush hours?

Let's see, political favors or payoff...whichever would get that streetcar!

Anonymous said...

If you want transparency, you can always look at the County Budget and how we develop it. Link below:

http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/County+Managers+Office/Business+Management/home.htm

For full disclosure, I'm the County Budget Director, Hyong Yi.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte finds itself troubled with where its roots are. When a Charlotian is asked their history, what is in there response? Charlotte is a young city that has a rich history that needs to be restored, preserved and maintained. The Charlotte Trolley Museum is reaching out to Charlotte to display that history. When a location is involved in its history, revenue for that location can only increase. The continuing development of the trolley line and the preservation of the original streetcars will be an invaluable asset to Charlotte.

Larry said...

So some wish to reach back in the past to some 100 year old technology as the answer to the future.

Everyone should understand that street cars stop at lights, run in the street just like buses and are subject to traffic just like buses.

Oh of course they have those light defeaters but how does that clear up traffic?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This not logical, the spending of taxpayers money for a streetcar.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is allowed their biases. But please do not suggest this money be used for ANYTHING else. The program is a Federal Grant for STREETCARS. There is only one way to use this money - FOR STREETCARS. Use it, or lose it. The end.

Anytime someone offers to give me free money, I try to use it, especially if it is toward something that I am interested and invested in. Think of it like a coupon to try a new breakfast cereal over your old favorite. A $25million dollar coupon.

Jumper said...

In the middle. There is a vision for a useful streetcar line or lines. Certain prudent plans are viable and could increase economic development. However, its very usefulness is used to attract overpriced bids. Infrastructure spending during a recession is a good idea. But don't let good ideas be co-opted by shady overpriced deals.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

100 year old technology. Hmmmnnnn, just like the automobile ?

Go home, your momma's callin'.

WashuOtaku said...

I would definitely use a street car that runs up & down Park Rd.
Why is that not being considered? Have you seen the traffic on Park during the am & pm rush hours?


Bus Route 19 is on Park Road, why aren't you using that to commute instead of driving?

The reason why Park Road is not even considered for a streetcar route because they are not built for commuting. They don't go very fast and they are usually built in the middle of the road... can you imagine the amount of accidents this would be causing.

WashuOtaku said...

consultant said...
Mary, great reporting.

Charlotte is doing the right thing.
Get the Fed money and build the darn thing. 20 years from now today's naysayers will be screaming, "don't touch my streetcar!"


Consultant,
1) Do not feed Mary's ego.
2) If you can see 20 years in the future, I recommend buying some lottery tickets next. I'm not saying your wrong, but not going to say your right either. They could be using them and successfully or the neighborhood never grew from it and they abandoned the track because the route is dead. Keep in mind that there is still buried rail lines on Tryon Street (as with several other streets in town) and they are not digging them out to plop a streetcar on them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Roads are self-sustaining, it's called a gas tax (and car tax and plate fee and inspection fee and any other additional fee the government can dream up to impose on those who drive)."

Utter nonsense, Ray. State and local roads are not financed by the gas tax nor by registration fees. They are mostly financed by property, sales, and income taxes.

Even federal roads are only 50% paid by gas taxes.

But I take it you favor a gas tax increase to make the roads self sustaining?

1/22/2010 04:07:00 PM


Road are used by 99% of taxpayers and trains are used by less than 1%. Train fares cover 11% of the costs, so I will be happy to pay your $500 toll if train riders pay the true cost.

Mancunian said...

Streetcars have been proven, time and time again, to be the single mode of transportation most likely to improve neighborhoods. It's no wonder that the most livable cities in the world have them - Melbourne, Toronto, San Fran, Vienna...

Charlotte had them once - and tore them up. When that didn't work, it is time to build them again.

WashuOtaku said...

Streetcars have been proven, time and time again, to be the single mode of transportation most likely to improve neighborhoods. It's no wonder that the most livable cities in the world have them - Melbourne, Toronto, San Fran, Vienna...

I know this for fact since I been to Toronto several times, that they have been in the process of removing the rail-lines from out of the roadways and onto there own right-of-ways. The reason is to increase service reliability.

This is the main argument that most have been saying in this post and the last one, that streetcars don't work. If it was a dedicated line like the light-rail, then sure... but it shares the same road as cars thus doesn't make it a commuting option.

I cannot speak for Melbourne or Vienna. The San Francisco lines are for the tourists and only operate in a small area of the city, not used for commuting as well.

Anonymous said...

Foxx's Folly!

Anonymous said...

This a very stupid women!!

Larry said...

I just love how people say things without putting their name to their inane comments.

For instance:
Larry,

100 year old technology. Hmmmnnnn, just like the automobile ?

Go home, your momma's callin'. from Anonymous.

Perhaps you need the 101 version. I am saying why are we willing to invest in close to a billion in OLD Technology that will do no better for transit than buses which we now own? Oh yeah I forgot the elected officials promised the Black Political Caucus that if they got their voters to squash the transit repeal tax they would have the next phase and it would be trolleys.

Anonymous said...

http://twitter.com/laconically/status/8090984638

LAC.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this comment --->

I knew the first comment would be political....

Thanks for taking the time to illustrate this - it's helpful to know how the money is allocated.

My prediction is it will be Foxx or Obama's fault in less then one hour.....start the clock. <--- precisely because it is spot on, and a reminder that, people don't really want to know the truth. It's harder to be angry when you know how it really works. It's so much more "satisfying" to kvetch and moan about a situation that we are all in.

It's your responsibility to stay in touch with your elected officials and of course, express your views and concerns. But understand how it works so you can contribute to rational debates toward logical solutions instead of emotional rants which do not solve anything.

JDC said...

As long as we're going to retrofit Trade/Elizabeth to the streetcar days, let's do it up right. Tear up the asphalt and lay bricks. Build a covered bridge to carry the trolley over Little Sugar Creek.

Heck, it will only cost another $30 million or so.

Anonymous said...

No, Mary is not stupid! Nut she is a democrat no matter what.

Anonymous said...

In addition to street car for inner-loop mass transit options...

We need light rail on INDY!
America's 75 Worst Commutes:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-01-19/americas-75-worst-commutes/full/

#35, East Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC
Weekly hours of bottleneck congestion: 33
Worst bottleneck: Stallings Rd
Length of worst bottleneck: .75 mi
Weekly hours of congestion on worst bottleneck: 12
Speed of worst bottleneck when congested: 20.6 mph

Anonymous said...

The bloated DSS budget is $188 million. Most goes to people who should not get it, on drugs, irresponsible and have babies to get money, or just in cahoots with DSS staff.

Also the illegals hospital bills that taxpayers end up paying is more than this. Oops. I forget. You like illegals.

Anonymous said...

"I cannot speak for Melbourne or Vienna. The San Francisco lines are for the tourists and only operate in a small area of the city, not used for commuting as well."

Uh, don't confuse the cable cars which only cover a small portion of the city to the Muni Metro which covers a greater part of the city and goes into many neighborhoods. I doubt the San Fran locals would give them up any time soon.

WashuOtaku said...

Uh, don't confuse the cable cars which only cover a small portion of the city to the Muni Metro which covers a greater part of the city and goes into many neighborhoods. I doubt the San Fran locals would give them up any time soon.

Sorry, I was getting confused with the cable cars; thanks Anon.

Anonymous said...

I cannot speak for Melbourne or Vienna.

Vienna is a compact city with a substantial loop transit system - that and the layout is old/European, so streets are not built explicitly for automobile traffic. Vienna has a leg-up on Charlotte in that sense. It was designed to support mass transit rather than personal transit.

Melbourne is a different story, but, there has a been a conscious effort to maintain or increase support and service since the 60's. This was not the case in any US City - so again - leg-up.

JDC said...

Mary, assuming council approves the committee’s recommendation and the city proceeds with the proposed $37 million project, what do "we" hope to accomplish? In other words, how does the end result benefit the greatest numbers of Charlotte citizens-taxpayers?

For example, will we be building a streetcar line just for the transportation benefits (which certainly can’t be that great). Is it in hope that riders will get off and shop at retail stores that either currently exist along, or may be attracted to, that 1.5-mile route?

Or are we merely politically positioning the line in hopes that it will become endeared to the public and therefore ease the way when the city goes for the big local tax bucks to finance extensions into northwest Charlotte or to the Central Avenue-Eastland area?

You’ve told us the cost. But what is the vision? How does greater Charlotte stand to benefit from the project? What will I get out of this?

I mentioned the possible retail benefit (to some) because of your Viewpoint column in today’s (Jan. 23) Observer. Once again you grouse about the lack of street-front retail in center city, pointing out current zoning laws that favor hidden, inside-the-scrapers stores and street front parking decks where stores could go. Well, if the city changed zoning along the streetcar route and required developers to have ground-floor retail space, wouldn’t that solve your complaint in the long run? And aren’t there already some retail stores along Elizabeth near Presbyterian Hospital?

Either the current uptown residents or tourists could then have a place to shop and easily return to center city without riding (ugh!) buses. Elizabeth neighborhood prices would shoot up even more, and that area nearest the hospital would become the next South End.

I guess I could live with that vision as justification for spending $12 million of local tax money, although I still wonder who benefits besides the developers, merchants and those wealthy enough to afford housing in either Elizabeth or center city.

Maybe more would live uptown and benefit if the city offered incentives to induce developers to provide a wide price range of condos or apartments. More residents uptown, especially ones who work there, would help alleviate traffic congestion and the air pollution that accompanies it.

But is that why you, CCCP and the majority of city council want the streetcar line? Or do you just want to spend $12 million of local tax money?

Anonymous said...

"Finding street car money" Basically means stealing money from hard working individuals.

consultant said...

Why do people want to attack Mary?

And why does it always come from "Anonymous?"

Man up!! I know it's a man.

Identify yourself, or be called a coward.

Now, bring on the light rail and street cars (in the right places).

Peak oil is here and we've got a closing window to get things done.

Anonymous said...

Ok Consultant. Like we know who you are. Well, I know you are a trust fund marxist.

Anonymous said...

"The solution to our problems is not more paternalism, laws, decrees, and controls, but the restoration of liberty and free enterprise, the restoration of incentives, to let loose the tremendous constructive energies of 300 million Americans." Henry Hazlitt

consultant said...

Anonymous, 2:45pm,

If we return to your way of thinking, we will have neither freedom or equality.

Consultant, 2010

consultant said...

It should read:

neither freedom nor equality.

Anonymous said...

Consultant-Since you want to tell others what to do with their property and money I would like to know what you think the words freedom and equality mean?

Steve

Anonymous said...

"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session" Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

Brown was the start. We are going to take back this country from the leftist. It's obvious things are not getting better by more government controls and the printing of money. Ron Paul 2012.

consultant said...

Steve,

In the context of this post?

"Freedom" to move about with some degree of ease on public transit as we head down the Peak Oil highway, where gas prices will continue to escalate beyond the reach of many who are now dependent on cars.

"Equality", as in sharing the financial burden of transportation so that no person or community is dependent on one means to move about an area.

Does that work for you?

consultant said...

Anonymous, 8:58pm:

Where were you from 2000 to 2008?

Just asking.

They had this old episode of CSI-Miami on last night, about cryogenics (freezing people after they die).

I thought maybe you were frozen and just woke up like a couple of weeks ago.

Let us know what it feels like to thaw out.

consultant said...

Anonymous, 8:58pm:

One other question, "When you thaw out, do you get that burning sensation between your eyes, like when you eat something really cold like ice cream?"

Just asking.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Cuba or Venezuala would be a better place for some on this blog to live. Everybody there is equally poor except the non productive elite.

consultant said...

Anonymous, 8:58pm:

Since you've been asleep from 2000 to 2008, I thought as a public service I'd suggest you look at the following things to get you up to speed:

"The Daily Show" on the web;
"The HuffingtonPost" on the web;
"The Naked City" on the web;
"The Audacity of Hope" a book (remember those?)
"NOW on PBS" public tv (check your local listings)
"The ClusterF%#k Nation" on the web;
"Against All Enemies" a book
"The 9/11 Commission Report" a book
"The Price of Loyalty" a book
"Worse Than Watergate" a book

I know this is a lot of stuff for an unfrozen person. Can I call you that? But this will bring you up to speed. It might make you sick, but you'll understand how the rest of us feel.

Remember to soak your feet in warm water. That will help with the thawing process.

consultant said...

Forgot to add:

"HBO: Real Time with Bill Maher" on iTunes and HBO.

Somebody will explain iTunes for you.

Anonymous said...

I think someone has been asleep since Nov 2008. Let me bring you up to speed:

-Unemployment is 10%
-Federal government has control of two automobile companies.
-This congress has spent more money this year than any other in the history of this country.
-The value of the dollar has decreased 14% since Jan 2009.


This is definitely not progress.

consultant said...

"Maybe Cuba or Venezuala would be a better place for some on this blog to live."

Have you been to either country?

I haven't been to Cuba, but Venezuela is beautiful. The people and the country. But it is a tough place.

Go down and check it out. You'll like it. I think.

Anonymous said...

mises.org
campaignforliberty.com


Happy Reading.

consultant said...

-Unemployment is 10%
Bush/Cheney brought us here (with some help from the last 2 years of the Clinton administration).

-Federal government has control of two automobile companies.
The Fed govt. should let both of them go out of business.

-This congress has spent more money this year than any other in the history of this country.
I think you should put the drinks down. It is getting late.

-The value of the dollar has decreased 14% since Jan 2009.
You can thank Bush/Cheney for that. And I sure you did by voting for them twice.

This is definitely not progress.
No, it's a disaster. Bush/Cheney drove us over the cliff, and Obama is just moving stuff around before we crash on the ground. No sense crying now. Especially those of you who helped push the car over the cliff.

Are you the unfrozen guy?

Anonymous said...

Whenever governments print a lot of money, you get inflation. That is the way the world has always worked. I am sure inflation is going to go to levels seen in the 1970s, if not higher. It is not necessarily going to happen this year, but certainly over the next few years. Governments around the world are going deeper and deeper into debt and this has got to be financed. Someone will have to pay higher rates eventually.

consultant said...

"Someone will have to pay higher rates eventually."

This is for the unfrozen guy.

I hope all the Republicans pay higher rates. Really, I do.

Before Reagan, we were a creditor nation. Paid our bills. Reagan, the Republican patron saint, started the debt is good fiasco.

Clinton paid down the debt and handed "W" (that's the idiot George W. Bush for those who can't keep up) a surplus which he blew through and saddled us with enough debt our grand kids won't be able to pay it off. This is what Bush left for Obama.

And the Republican base said nothing. NOT A WORD. Honestly, most of them had/have no idea what's going on. They only care about the "social" issues, while their jobs were being shipped overseas and their 401k's decimated by greedy, gangster banks.

The frozen guy I can forgive. But for all you folks who were awake and voted for Bush-twice-I only have this to say to you:

They've got a sale in Atlanta for this week only! They will freeze your body $199.95, everything included.

This special is only available to those who voted for Bush-twice.

Hurry! This sale won't last forever.

Got Your Quotes Right here, Anonymous said...

"What! Me Worry??!!" - Alfred E. Neuman.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Consultant

You think 1.5 mile trolley line will solve traffic problems. who will ride it. This 10 mile(when bulitout) unfunded Trolley will cost 400m. the city wants this line over the 25 mile 4 city commuter line. which is partially funded and will also cost 400m and will relive traffic off of i77.

But no were going to build a trolley line for the uptown developers that were big campaign contributes in the last election. Heck the mayor works for the company that builds the street cars.

I think you need to read/watch less liberal blow hards and start looking at facts.

The trolley is a gimmick not a solution.

Explain to me how that line will solve any traffic problems.

Steve.

2010! said...

Steve,

If there were a Federal Grant for start-up Commuter Train Lines, I hope Charmeck would try to find the money for that project too. Unfortunately, that is not what is being offered. $25m for Streetcars and Streetcars ONLY (and $ for electric buses separately).

This is not a choice of priorities - this is a YES or NO question for Streetcar startup. Since the price is right, I emphatically say YES. However, if Charmeck were to build this thing without a grant, I would say NO.

consultant said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous:

To your point, I think the streetcar line, connected to light rail and a feeder bus system can solve a lot of problems we face right now and in the near future.

The rising price of oil is a tax on everyone who drives. Think about that.

Why can't we rally around the idea of taking some of these "petro dollars" and investing in OUR country.

Beyond the gas, have you ever thought about how much each of us spends a year on just ONE car?

Figure that out and report back to us. Thanks.

consultant said...

Steve,

I'm am certain you will ride a state-of-the-art streetcar.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I can get a job as a conductor. Yea!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Wow, so I guess we are getting this uneeded trolley. It will never get used, it will just be something to look at. Charlotte has it priorities all screwed up. Good Ole Dems!! Spend it up!

JUST LIKE NO ONE WAS GOING TO USE THE LYNX, RIGHT ????

MOVE AWAY !!!

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Anonymous said...

Despite President Obama's long history of criticizing the Bush administration for "sweetheart deals" with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids.

The contract, awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, Inc., a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi, will pay the firm $24,673,427 to provide "rule of law stabilization services".

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Anonymous said...

GOP = Gay Oppressed People

Anonymous said...

Just because you dont support the streetcar does not mean you dont support lightrail.

the truth is that the streetcar may end up robbing funds from lightrail and commuter rail.

Also noone road the trolley that ran down southend will anyone ride the 1.5 trolley down trade street?

Steve