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Archive for December 16th, 2007

I’ve weighed in on the transit situation on more than one occasion. There have been the discussions on it’s impact on traffic, pollution, land-use and so forth. I’ve been thinking about it again, wishing I could effectively get to and from work using public transit, especially with the weather conditions of the past couple days. Again, when I had to fill the gas tank last night.

A city such as Columbus (and many cities just like Columbus) are going to have a difficult time attracting and retaining population if adequate public transportation is not funded and built. The two largest segments of the US population will find automobile ownership more and more economically difficult, and may find, should Columbus continue to drag its feet in building a viable transit system, that other cities are a better place to hang their hat.

Seniors, who increasingly rely upon fixed incomes and failing pension plans will find that automobile ownership is too costly. Young professionals and the “arts” crowd, who are now faced with dozens of jobs within a life time, will likely feel that spending upwards of 25% of their income on transportation is too big of a price to pay to settle in Columbus.

The fact of the matter is, for the majority of people, owning a car is the price of admission to living in Columbus. Imagine hearing your realtor say this:

“The down-payment on your home will be $22,000. Your monthly mortgage payment will be $1,200. Heating and cooling costs are estimated at $110 per month, and you’ll need an initial $20,000 investment in transportation, plus an additional monthly payment of $200-400 for upkeep for that transportation”.

That’s roughly the difference between a $220,000 home and a $340,000 home. In other words, if you can’t afford a $340,000 home, there’s won’t be much of a future for you here.

Now, imagine your realtor telling you this:

“The down-payment on your home will be $22,000. Your monthly mortgage payment will be $1,200. Heating and cooling costs are estimated at $110 per month. Your transportation costs here will be $50 per month for an all-you-can-ride transit pass”.

These are also the kind of discussion that takes place in boardrooms, as companies look to relocate their offices and their employees.

Which conversation would you rather have?

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