Sunday, January 5, 2014

Roads, trains and numbers

If you've driven around Tampa Bay recently, and you're like me, you get the feeling that every single highway in Tampa is under construction.

The Tribune today confirmed that fact.
TAMPA — Call it the year of the road grader.
Virtually every major road system in the Tampa Bay area will have some sort of construction underway in 2014. From Clearwater to Spring Hill and from the Sunshine Skyway to Wesley Chapel, drivers won’t be able to avoid detour signs and earth-moving equipment.
Fresh from the near completion of the massive Interstate 4/Selmon Expressway connector, the Florida Department of Transportation is focusing on a long list of road projects also underway.
“We have numerous transportation projects on major corridors and on the interstate system in the Tampa Bay area,” said department spokeswoman Kristen Carson. “These projects will help bring jobs to the local economy, strengthen regional connectivity and accommodate current and future traffic growth.
Keith Morelli of the Trib describes and lists the major projects slated to complete by 2016. There are about a dozen projects through the area, summarized below.

Description Miles $(millions) Cost per mile ($millions)
Interstate 275 widening from east of State Road 60 to the Hillsborough River bridge in Tampa 4.2 $215.4 $51.3
Widening of Veterans Expressway from Memorial Highway to Van Dyke Road 11 $386.0 $35.1
I-275 bridge and shoulder widening from Floribraska Avenue to Yukon Street 4.2 $30.0 $7.1
Interstate 75 widening from Fowler Avenue to State Road 56 11.4 $95.3 $8.4
Southbound I-75 exit ramp work at the S.R. 60 interchange in Brandon 1 $14.2 $14.2
-75 bridge deck replacement over Harney Road: 0.1 $2.3 $23.0
I-275 from Manatee County to the Sunshine Skyway 5.8 $4.1 $0.7
US-19 projects 19.2 $236.6 $12.3
Totals 56.9 $983.9 $17.3

The projects itemized are just under $1B, and average cost is around $17M per mile.  Refer to the article for details.

The article is practically devoid of ridership numbers, but does mention
[Widening of Veterans Expressway], designed to relieve congestion and traffic jams for the 167,000 daily commuters on the toll road
Interesting.  167,000 daily commuters paying to drive on a toll road, and spending $386M in improvements, which is expected to be complete in 2015.

Which raises a question in my mind.  How many riders are expected to be on Greenlight Pinellas 24 mile passenger light rail?  Let's check into it.

Greelight Pinellas passenger rail project by the numbers
Lets add the Greenlight Pinellas numbers in the mix and do some math.

Description Miles $(millions) Cost per mile ($millions)
Greenlight Pinellas passenger rail 24 $1,680.0 $70.0

Greenlight Pinellas is planning on 24,000 trips per day on the passenger light rail.

Compare that to the Veterans 167,000 per day on the toll road.

Greenlight Pinellas is planning on 99,000 trips per day on the entire transit system.

Compare that to the Veterans 167,000 per day on the toll road.

Greenlight Pinellas is planning on $66 - 72M per mile to build the passenger light rail, or about $1.68B

Compare that to Veterans $35M per mile to expand the toll road, or $386M.

Compare that to the list of major ... and needed... road projects in Tampa Bay, about $1B.

Greenlight Pinellas passenger light rail cost per rider per day is about $70,000.

Compare that to Veterans cost per rider per day is about $2311.

Greenlight Pinellas does not state when the passenger light rail would be complete, perhaps 2022 for optimists, but realistically 2026.

Compare that to Veterans completion in 2015.

With numbers like these,  how would you spend your money?

1 comment:

  1. The types of missions, that the typical family accomplishes via the trusty family car, tells all about why the rails are not a simple option replacement. Let us say a typical evening drive for a commuter includes one stop, at Home Depot, could you bring home a new garbage can on the bus and rail combo ride? Not hardly, but even if you could, no one would.
    More typically you would see, a stop at the gym, the dry cleaners, and the grocery store. With a multi-stop drive, are you willing to risk the ice cream melting? Nope.

    If you point this out to the transit mavens, they quickly switch the subject to the tourist. Just the most modest examination of the expectations and practicalities of the tourist experience, relative to mass transit PROVES THAT the typical mass transit advocate could care less about the tourist.

    For example, Busch Gardens has operated the Stanleyville Train for many years, will millions of miles of smiles along the way. Try suggesting to a County Commission or a HART planner, that we should EXPAND the Stanleyville train.

    They will first laugh, and then stare at you like an old cow looking at a new gate. You see, the Stanleyville train looks absolutely nothing like the billion dollar boondoggles that they tout. Never mind that it is cheap to operate, and the tourists love it.