The End of the Line

Business benefits in other ways, too.
When state lawmakers last year were looking at ways to cut pollution, one option discussed was requiring businesses to reduce the number of miles traveled by employees. Among the opponents of these mandatory trip reductions was Arizona Public Service, which successfully lobbied for a voluntary program. Goddard says even this no-teeth approach hasn't been easy for business. "Employers who are trying to comply with that are having great difficulty," the mayor says, doing what they can by consolidating trips by workers and offering van pools. "Businesses couldn't comply with mandatory trip reductions."

Actually, APS could, but it would cost a lot more than they're spending now. And a lot more than the $50,000 they've contributed to the ValTrans campaign, which even Goddard has pushed as an alternative to those mandatory trip reductions. And APS and Salt River Project--which also has kicked in $50,000--both stand to gain from electricity sales to operate the automated train system.

STILL CONFUSED? Don't feel alone. Go to any party in the Valley, or visit with any fellow shopper at the market, and you'll find yourself deep in a discussion of ValTrans. Most likely the query will be, "What do you think of this thing?" Few seem adamantly for or against. Most admit to being torn and vacillating daily.

That kind of disarray should benefit the opponents, who know the conventional wisdom is that voters say no when they're confused.

Supporters, however, seem to be resting their hopes on the other side of that coin--confused voters also stay home, so apathy might be their ticket to success.

It seems like a helluva way to run a railroad.

Since they presumed they were on the side of the angels, they didn't take the opposition seriously for a long time.

Where they have no facts, opponents rely on unprovable theories and general government- bashing statements.

That L.A.'s freeway-only program has been an abysmal failure doesn't mean it can't work here, Chasse argues. Of course, he doesn't give transit the same break.

"Freeways are not free," Mayor Goddard stresses.

A campaign for ValTrans-- and against the naysayers--should not be hard.

One of the proponent's first acts was to decide the campaign needed not one consultant, but three.

If ValTrans comes in at the projected cost, it will be the exception, rather than the rule.

Worth does not consider it misleading to use train- station-to-station travel times in publicizing the benefits of ValTrans.

Misstating or misinterpreting information is one thing. Boldly lying is another.

Goddard's bubbling enthusiasm for the project, however, isn't matched by his command of the facts.

The howl-and-cry controversy over the amphitheatre couldn't have happened at a worst possible time for anyone who wanted voters' trust.

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