Saturday, November 18, 2006

Anything to keep himself in the drivers seat 

Today President inaugurated a new light rail system which he didn't build and which, truth be told, isn't really built in any meaningful sense. But hey, there is an election on so getting pictures like this splashed across the press can't hurt:

The rail system is in Venezuela's third largest city, Valencia. I've never really spent any time in Valencia other than to pass through its bus station so I don't know how much it needed any sort of transit system. But it is a compact city, being surrounded by mountians, and apparently does have a fair amount of traffic congestion. So back in 1994 they started building a light rail system. And note, they didn't just plan it, they actually constructed a fair portion of it. This is the one case where the usual opposition complaints that they were the ones responsible for the project actually has some truth to it.

The rail system is underground and is essentially a big "X" as you can see from the map:

Now here is the other shortcoming of this project - not much of it has been built. The part being completed now is the small section represented by the yellow dots. Worse still, not even all of those stations are open and, unbelievably, it isn't really being permanently opened at all but is only being opened temporarily and then will be shut down again while work continues.

Clearly there isn't much credit that should be handed out for this project. But being an election year it is to be expected that the government wanted to get whatever credit it could and showed it off.

Regardless, it does look like a nice system and hopefully they really will finish building this thing in the coming years. Someday I'll have to stop by and ride it. Until then I'll just enjoy the pictures:


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