October 24, 2014

Expert claims transit is not culturally relative

A national group pushing for more sustainable communities is holding their annual gathering in Madison. Among the panelists at the Congress for the New Urbanism event is Charlie Hales, a Senior VP at HDR Engineering and a former Portland City Commissioner. He tells WRN it’s untrue that transit projects always cost more than anticipated.

“Those that are trying to stop things can always trigger American skepticism about government saying ‘you know there is going to be big cost overruns,’ and that’s not really the case with transit.”

The former elected official says that keeping costs in line is due in part to the federal government having strict supervision on projects like high speed rail.

Opponents of major transit say certain projects are more culturally acceptable in certain places over others. Hales doesn’t buy that argument.

“Come on look around. They’re riding transit like crazy in Phoenix, Dallas and Houston. Tell me someplace that loves their cars more than Texas.” Hales says accessibility is what prevents transit from being popular, not initial interest.

The CNU four-day event, which is wrapping up Saturday, also covers urban farming and creating walkable/bikable communities.

AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (1:20)