Christof notes that according to its original schedules, Metro should be a lot farther along its 2003 rail expansion plan than it currently is.
The North and Southeast Lines, for which a public design process had already been completed by the time of the 2003 referendum, were to start construction in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Today, the North Line would be open, the Southeast Line would be halfway through construction, the East End line would be underway, and the University Line would be beginning construction shortly.
Instead, the only construction we’ve seen is utility relocation on the East End Line, and there’s no final construction contract in place. The Southeast and North lines do not yet have federal funding in place (though all the prerequisites are done.) The University Line still does not have a Final Environmental Impact Statement, which means it’s still several steps short of funding. Five years after the Main Street Line opened, and five years after the voters approved light rail expansion, we still don’t have much to show for it.
As he notes, it took a lot of things going wrong to get us to this point. The good news is that the overall design is now better, and economic conditions plus a change in the federal political structure should make getting all this work started a lot easier. It may even wind up being less expensive than we once thought. So let’s get cracking already.