I’ve written frequently about what a horrific money pit light rail projects are, as they can be fourteen times as expensive per mile than four lane highways. But the incredibly wasteful nature of light rail projects takes a back seat to the immoral act of forcing taxpayers across the state (and indeed the nation) to finance a shiny train that will service a very tiny fraction of a local population.
Moreover, the ongoing struggle to green light the Durham-Orange light rail boondoggle has underscored yet another reason to oppose light rail: the inevitable corruption and cronyism involved when billions of dollars will be awarded by politicians to connected developers and contractors.
From the N&O:
The Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project is using a consultant who earlier this year pleaded guilty to fraud related to thousands of dollars in personal travel, meals and alcohol while he was a transportation official in Arizona.
Consultant Stephen Banta took a plea bargain in September, pleading guilty to one felony count of fraudulent schemes and practices, The Arizona Republic reported. This month, Banta was punished with two years of unsupervised probation and a $6,000 fine.
John Tallmadge, the interim light-rail project manager for GoTriangle, said the agency knew about Banta’s charges when he was hired as a subcontractor…. (emphasis added)
Banta has been working on an as-needed basis since Jan. 10, 2017, at a rate of $231.75 an hour, she said. His contract is worth up to $443,457
So a corrupt bureaucrat already convicted of stealing taxpayer dollars is now being rewarded nearly half a million of your dollars to work as a “consultant” on a light rail project that has yet to even be authorized. And those in charge of the light rail boondoggle are ok with it.
Just imagine the corruption, waste and fraud that will take place if the government awards these folks $2.5 billion.