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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New study questions commuter rail line; author's integrity quetioned

From a story by Larry Sandler in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

A new study by a libertarian think tank claims the projected economic benefits of a proposed Milwaukee-to-Kenosha commuter rail line have been inflated and questions its ridership estimates.

But a business leader noted that the author of the study, Los Angeles-based transit consultant Tom Rubin, took a far more positive view of the $200 million project in June, when pro-transit business leaders were pushing the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority to hire him as the authority's consultant. And a regional planner said the commuter rail projections were sound.

The Reason Foundation study, being released today, says the transit authority should consider express buses as an alternative to the KRM Commuter Link, which would connect downtown Milwaukee and the southern suburbs to Racine and Kenosha with 14 round trips each weekday.

Rubin said his latest study wasn't meant to bash the KRM, but to highlight the advantages of bus options.

"We're not saying that KRM is a dumb idea and it should be dropped," Rubin said Monday. "I am not saying that KRM is going to fail. I am saying there are other options that should be studied before you make that commitment."

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