Bankrupt Detroit and often near-bankrupt Santa Ana both are defying logic and wish to build streetcar systems for the nebulous goal of “economic development”. In Detroit’s case, the federal government has kicked in $140 million per this CNS piece. In Santa Ana’s case, $238 million is expected to mostly come from the county-wide 1/2-cent sales tax, Measure M(2) for purely Santa Ana’s “benefit”.
Says Dr. Sam Staley, a research fellow at Reason Foundation of the Detroit project:
“The city is betting on the streetcar generating a new kind of economic development that will catalyze around this new infrastructure investment. They bought into the rhetoric surrounding these kinds of investments, but most of them have not been backed up by good solid numbers,” Dr. Samuel Staley, managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University and research fellow at the Reason Foundation, told CNSNews.com. “Most of these projects are based on future estimates that are rarely validated by studies done post-investment,” Staley said, adding that he is highly skeptical that Detroit’s new streetcar will “create the development it’s promising.” Although he personally likes to ride streetcars, Staley says,“from an economic perspective, they don’t make sense.” Continue reading