Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The Tide, The Virginian Pilot and Stuck On Stupid
The Virginian Pilot (slogan: “Dear reader, we hate your f***ing guts”) helped sell Norfolk on the “Tide.” The Tide (slogan: “if we have not run into you yet, give us time, we will.”) is a light rail system that just captured the title of “by far the biggest loser per passenger in the country.”
Determined not to let go of its record of supporting every money losing public project it can find, the Virginian Pilot (favorite prediction: Norfolk will be under water by next Tuesday because of Global Warming) is doubling down on stupid. Admitting that the Tide has captured the title of The Biggest Loser, the answer, according to the Virginian Pilot editorial board (political orientation: Stalin was a Right Winger) is:
No matter how you measure that, or how you excuse it, that's a staggering cost. Which is precisely why The Tide needs to be expanded.
They reason that if the Tide (known as the Ghost Train because no living person has been seen riding it) carries even one more passenger, the operating cost per passenger will decline.
Here’s how bad it is. The Tide’s operating cost is $12,374,424. Passengers put $687,892 into the fare box. If the Tide lowered its fares to zero, the loss per passenger would only go up from $6.63 to $7.02 a mere 6%. That's not far from what's actually happening now since we hear reports that there are no ticket collectors on the Tide and you only have to pay if the cops catch you.
So they want the taxpayers to pony up a mere $327 million to extend the line three (that’s 3 with a T) miles to a shopping area in Virginia Beach with no, zero, nada residents. That’s a little over $100 million per mile. And who wants to bet that this boondoggle will come in at budget? The Tide was a mere $100 million over budget.
Being Stuck on Stupid is the default position for the declining number of Virginian Pilot employees. I believe it's part of their employment contract. This is the paper that asserted that its own employees being assaulted by a mob of black teens in Downtown Norfolk was not newsworthy while giving front page coverage to Denny Hastert's arrest.
The Virginian Pilot is wrong so often that it's actually become a valuable resource. If anyone has any question on a public policy question they only have to wait for the Pilot's editors to pronounce on it and do the exact opposite. Follow this simple rule and you can't go wrong.