Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ranking Charlotte - We're No. 3 and No. 28

Stuck in traffic? You could be using public transit, and leaving the driving to someone else. You'd be jumping on the bandwagon that a near-record number of riders joined in the first three months of the year.

Charlotte was one of at least a dozen communities that set records for people riding buses, trains and light rail. It was No. 3 on a USA Today list of communities nationwide breaking transit records. Coming in at No. 1 was Indianapolis (helped by the Super Bowl being held there) with 2.5 million riders, up 20 percent. In 2nd place was Fort Myers, Fla., with 1 million riders, up 17 percent. Charlotte had 6.8 million riders, up 10 percent. In 4th place, Ann Arbor Michigan with 1.7 million riders, up 9 percent. And in 5th place was Boston, with a whopping 99.2 million riders, up 8 percent.

Ridership may go down with gas prices on the decline. But for those who pooh-poohed Charlotte's light rail, which is a big part of the ridership boost in Charlotte and across the nation, the stats are indicating the investment has been good.

Charlotte's ... No. 28
Speaking of rankings for Charlotte, here's another one: Charlotte ranks 28th out of the top 100 metropolitan areas nationwide in its share of residents with college degrees, and has seen a 22.4 percent increase since 1970. The Brookings Institute analysis highlighted Charlotte as a model for other areas looking to rebuild after manufacturing job losses, diversify their economies, and attract a more highly skilled workforce. On the same listing, Raleigh came in 7th, Charleston, S.C. came in 30th and Columbia, S.C., came in 43rd.

Of Charlotte, the report said: "Metro areas that enjoyed the most substantial jumps in their college degree attainment ranks included many, like Dayton, that lost a tremendous share of their manufacturing between 1970 and 2010. But because regions like Worcester, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Pittsburgh shed much of that base earlier than other manufacturing centers, they have had more time to build services-oriented economies in sectors like health, professional services, higher education, and finance, and to grow, attract, and retain highly educated populations to fill those jobs."

Umm. Sounds good. Is it true?

Posted by Fannie Flono


grizzy4884 said...

Sorry, but the bus takes extremely long to get anywhere.

Reggie Mantle said...

Having a lot of residents with mail-order degrees (Phoenix, DeVry, ECPI) doesn't raise the per capita intellect in my opinion.

cmsparent2010 said...

No surprise - DSS issues over $700,000 a month in free passes which the taxpayer pays for

Anonymous said...

I think the major gripe with our mass transit - including people like me, who use public transport because of a disability that prevents driving and have no other choice - is not that the train/bus system isn't needed or beneficial, it's the way it has been planned and financed. We were told in '98 that if we would approve a 0.5% sales tax increase, that the tax would raise $1 billion over 25 years, and that would pay to build out 5 major corridors. We were not told that this financing plan was obviously written by people who flunked finance class in college. Where else but the government could you find financial planners who could predict that sales tax revenue would increase every single year for 25 years, whether there were recessions or not, and that in 2023 the costs would still be in 1998 dollars, and still keep their job? I think the average 15-year-old knows that the US goes through a recession about once every decade, and that sales tax revenues drop, sometimes drastically, during recessions. I think that same average 15-year-old knows that when you start building something in 1998, that by 2023 inflation alone would at least double the amount of money you would need.

So now it's 2012, about halfway through the 25-year period of collecting the transit tax. Not only do we not have 5 corridors finished or in progress, we have only 1 done, 1 hanging by a thread (hoping the Feds come through with their 50%, and expecting the state to come through with their 25%, in spite of the fact that the state is already a decade behind in building 485), and no clue whatsoever how the other 3 are going to be built. And of course, in 2023 we will be told that the transit tax will not expire as planned, but will become permanent. Only in the government could such incompetence be rewarded with continued employment.

So again, nothing against the building of a robust mass transit system or the benefits of having it. But could we at least have some more competent people plan the financing?

Grifman said...

Reggie, you're so funny since you have no idea about how many people have what degrees from what schools. Unless you're speaking from personal experience, right?