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A Trainload of Cash


“Missing the Train” (News & Features, June 16) shows why artificial economic government intervention is destined to fail. If I recall correctly, the renovation of Main Street Station cost approximately $56 million in public funding. Using the ridership figures cited in your article, the average daily usage of Main Street Station is 64.5 riders per day. On an annual basis this means that for each daily rider, $868,217 was spent on the renovation. Breaking that down to a daily figure, the renovation cost $2,378 for each daily rider. And these figures don't take into account the cost of operating, maintaining or servicing any current debt on the building.

One could not find a more perfect example of a white-elephant boondoggle. This rivals any “bridge to nowhere.” At least the ridership has increased from the 21 per day that existed in the early years. I laughed, then cried when I read that an estimated $122 million to $600 million in capital improvements to serve this railroad station was under discussion.

Shortly after the renovation, I was touring out-of-town relatives in Shockoe Bottom. We entered this beautiful, newly dazzling building in search of a restroom. I will never forget having to awaken the hired Main Street (ghost) Station security guard to ask for directions. When will the insanity stop? I guess the free marketplace driving supply and demand has ceased to exist.
Max Maizels

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