Local Quote: Dennis Robbins on Light Rail

Two Republic articles on light rail in two weeks must mean the push for it is serious this time.

Beth Duckett’s article today had a great quote from Dennis Robbins, who is shaping up to be the Mary Manross of this decade.

Robbins, an incumbent, said he was on the Scottsdale City Council from 1996 to 2000, when Scottsdale was in a study group on light rail with Tempe and Phoenix.

“We put our vote to the citizens in 1998 and it failed 2 to 1,” he said. “I’m still stinging from that. However, I understand the economic-development needs and benefits of light rail.”

So, the citizens spoke overwhelmingly against light rail, and Robbins–in a Wayne Ecton moment (“The wrong people voted”)–thinks the citizens are too stupid to understand why they should have voted FOR it.

In the very next sentence, he inadvertently explains EXACTLY why they are smarter than he looks: Light rail isn’t about transportation, it’s about real estate development…which results in campaign contributions for him and his cronies on the Council.

There’s nothing light rail can do for us that a better bus system couldn’t do better–and cheaper–with less damage to community character and existing businesses.

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  1. Well put John, and exactly correct. Scottsdale has hundreds of millions of dollars of unused bonding capacity and the development interests who support my Council colleagues (excepting Guy Phillips who is one of the good guys) want to dip their grubby paws into that lucrative till! At the expense of incresing the residents’ property taxes, of course.

  2. I really enjoyed the 2006 debate at the Scottsdale Senior Center where Bob Littlefield massacred Rick Kidder of the C of C in a light rail debate. I would think that would have been enough to end the debate on the light rail boondoggle but, like Topsy, it is hard to get rid of it.

  3. It seems we’re (taxpayers) that this will not cost a penny to operate and that we (taxpayers) will benefit. But we never seem to get the benefit and the costs go up almost daily.

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