|Untagged||23 Jun 2009|
|T Development: A Great Train Robbery? by allegheny|
After nearly a decade of planning and assembling funding (including $10 million in Federal, state, and local monies) it appears the transit oriented development at the Castle Shannon station in the South Hills could be starting. And that's a good thing according to the developer since "these excess pieces of land can generate some tax dollars and jobs".
Talk about pumping up the benefits without looking at the costs. Consider:
- If the annual opportunity cost of the $10 million public investment is 5% ($500,000), then the development must be assessed at $15 million at build-out in order to generate that $500k in property tax dollars to the County, Castle Shannon, and Keystone Oaks School District;
- If the jobs (the development is supposed to have office space, retail, and restaurant(s)) are simply transfers from other locations then there is no net benefit to the County, and possibly to the borough and school district;
- The Port Authority has to spend money to lease parking nearby in order to accommodate people who park at the lot.
Transit is supposed to generate its own demand, but we have already seen from studies on other parts of the trolley line that population loss is more pronounced in areas adjacent to the T. Sure, the site, when completed, will be shiny and attractive and there will be much fanfare. But will there be a net benefit from its undertaking?