IAH bus, LRT, alt energy, TX vs CA, Houston hooky contestClearing out some smaller misc items:
- After 7 months, Metro still has pretty disappointing ridership on its IAH airport express buses: 98 total per day, or 1-2 per bus trip (!). That sparked quite a debate on HAIF here. The month-to-month growth rate is good, and I think they need to give it more time to develop (and maybe better promotion at the airport, and a price cut wouldn't hurt), but it certainly makes you pause at the wisdom of a billion$+ investment to extend the north line LRT to IAH after 2012 - which, btw, would be a slower ride than the bus if it includes stops along the way. Reasons why rail to the airport usually doesn't make sense in my older posts here (3rd bullet point) and here (last bullet point).
- Randal O' Toole makes the case against light rail with a concise barrage of facts in a San Antonio Express-News op-ed, including:
"Do the math: Light rail costs 14 to 35 times as much to move people as highways.
The Government Accountability Office found that bus-rapid transit—frequent buses with limited stops—provided faster, better service at 2 percent of the capital cost and lower operating costs than light rail."
It backs up my assertion that light rail is not a logical transportation investment (other than to grab rail-siloed federal funds) - it's an amenity we choose to build just because we want to, just like stadiums, parks, and libraries.
- Continuing the theme, Paul Burka, Senior Executive Editor at Texas Monthly, dismantles light rail as way too costly for the few people it moves.
- Some more evidence that Houston is broadening its role as energy capital to include alternative technologies: Tessera Solar is headquartered right here in Houston. The talent they need to recruit is here. And an interesting side note: they felt a downtown location was better for attracting talent than in The Woodlands. Hat tip to Jenny.
- And another item that we're doing well on energy efficiency too: the EPA just rated Houston #3 in the country for energy star qualified buildings (number, sq.ft. and $ savings), #1 when you look at emissions savings. Hat tip to Peter.
- Check out this Rich States/Poor States report, including a full chapter on TX vs. CA. Texas does very well. Hat tip to kjb.
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that we're having a contest on nextstop.com for Houston recommendations (because we believe there are other places just as interesting as San Fran!). Winner gets a $100 visa gift card. These are the details:I'm sure some of my readers out there could put together a great itinerary...
Let's say you decided to play hookey around Houston - you're ditching school or that 9-5 job for a single day. What would you do? Where would you go? Create a guide for your day off in and around Houston, Texas. If your guide receives the most votes from other nextstoppers, we'll send you a $100 VISA gift card to help you make that day a reality. (We won't tell your boss, we promise)