I understand you will be speaking at ANC's monthly meeting. I have one question I'd like to ask Project Connect, and I am really hoping you will answer it tonight.
The question is, unfortunately, quite blunt:
"Why should voters believe the projected 2030 ridership numbers for East Austin Rail?"
Before you think I am just trying to pick a fight, please hear me out. The math should be simple: 1.38 billion dollars for 9.5 miles of rail for 16,000 riders a day by 2030. Except... there seems to be some problems with both these numbers, and the methodology used.
I won't list every blog post and article that has raised questions about Project Connect's data, but I would like to highlight a few.
Susan Pantrell's guest post about the latest data from Project Connect, questioning whether the projected ridership for 2030 is too high:
They estimate 15,580 daily trips using the model, which they round up to 16,000. Then they say that on game or event days, ridership could be 20,000 or higher. So they conclude “the project team believes that the median value of 18,000 is a reasonable preliminary estimate of 2030 ridership.” At the end of the memo they explain that this is not based on their calculations, but on their assumption of a 10-15% increase in ridership based on future development (18,000 is a 15% increase).
Lyndon Henry says that is a reasonable assumption, and it may be, but it is not based on data or adequately documented in this memo.
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