David Stokes

The Post-Dispatch is reporting that Metro is facing repair issues with the original leg of the MetroLink system because of the use of lower quality material in constructing the first line:

"And the hand-me-down rail has worn down on curves."

It was probably thought to be a smart decision to buy used rail in order to save money at the time and, you know what, it was a good decision. Too often, people without any institutional memory find it easy to criticize, but I'd bet the use of more affordable ties was a selling point back in the debate and construction period of the first line. Governments have to live within budgets, at least in theory, and if everything they built had to be done perfectly nothing would ever get done.

Metro, or Bi-State as it was known at the time, clearly cut some corners on cost, not safety, in order to bring the project in on budget. Once you promise the public something will be done within a budget, and then the public passes a tax increase to pay for it, it is important to do all you can to stay to that budget. I look forward to Metro making the necessary fixes to the system, and I see nothing wrong with the decisions made long ago, as reported in this article. 

About the Author

David Stokes
David Stokes was a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute from 2007 to 2014 and was director of development from 2014 to 2016.