Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Safety First, Expansion Later - Double Standard?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Foxx recently said that WMATA should fix safety problems with Metro before expanding. Imagine if that same logic applied to our roads. Each year nearly 300 people are killed on our roadways vs. about 1.3 per year killed in Metro-related incidents by my rough count.

Replace "Metro" with "regional DOT" in the following statements by Sec. Foxx and imagine what an impact this would have on traffic safety, a much  more serious problem in the DC Metro area:
"the Department of Transportation will continue to restrict federal funding to Metro’s [regional DOT's] ongoing safety and state-of-good repair projects, not expansion.

“When we are comfortable they’ve achieved levels of safety that are commensurate with what the traveling public should expect, and until that time they are going to be focusing on safety,” Foxx said.

Foxx said expanding capacity eventually may be necessary, but federal funding will not start paying for new stuff until Metro [regional DOTs] fixes what it already has.

“Over the long, long, long haul, this is a growing area and obviously there will be pressures on the system to grow in the future, but that future right now is far off because the focus needs to be on safety,” he said.
Hat tip to GGW where I first heard this idea mentioned.

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This is apples and oranges. If you're going to compare public transportation to personal vehicle safety, tally the amount of fatalities caused by structural defects of roads, bridges, and tunnels and compare to metro. Human error isn't causing metro issues, except when humans don't respond quickly enough.

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