Watching Our Wasteline

The trolley’s not coming back.


The City will break it out for special events, like Chalk the Block. Maybe baseball games, for a little while. But forget daily operation.

It took a pandemic, and the resulting recession, to convince the City to cut this wasteful spending.

The trolley was stupid. It was never about transportation. Four bus routes covered the same service, faster and less sporadically. When you’re talking about transportation, you’re talking about reliable transportation. The trolley didn’t qualify.

If Dee “Hold the LIne on Taxes” Margo and the rest of City Council were serious about fiscal responsibility, they would have axed daily operation of the trolley months ago.

And so far no one has been knifed to death waiting for the bus.

The trolley was never about transportation. The trolley was always a novelty. The trolley was where you took out-of-town visitors to kill 45 minutes before you went home for martinis and canasta.

There’s still a lot of fat on that bone. If we were to cancel the worthless vanity projects, and rescind some TIRZs, our economic future would clear up like the environment during lockdown.

(One bonus to the Coronavirus is that, since the park’s been closed, the dolphins have returned to Ascarate Lake.)

This economic crisis is an opportunity for our “city leaders” to grow a pair and demonstrate some fiscal restraint. This is an opportunity for them to save face.

They can even pretend they came up with the idea themselves. I won’t say a thing.

This is a great opportunity to pull us out of the fiscal tailspin they’ve enthusiastically embraced.


    1. Where would it go?

      The problem is that El Paso doesn’t have any “destinations,” except maybe Cattleman’s.

      Or Austin, or San Diego. And then those gondolas would come back empty.

      1. Put the Wire on high traffic arteries with smaller busses connecting them to create a web of public transit.

        How much time is wasted by people waiting for a long distance bus? How much money is wasted by running a bus with few passengers? It’s worth thinking about.

  1. This city’s tail is gonna spin like hell for quite a while. I know a local auto dealer that collects .0625% sales tax and about another $300 rigmarole or more in fees for every vehicle that he sells. Some of the bigger franchised dealers in town sell about 300 vehicles a month with total taxable sales in the millions and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees. What happens when they stop selling cars because of a cooties induced depression? What happens to all of the cash cow businesses like restaurants and bars when they fold and the owners leave town and go back to Sioux City to work on the family farm. What happens when the West Texas oil fields shut down because the demand curve went to shit. We should turn the trolley cars into homeless shelters. “The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country”. Don’t count on Tommy G sticking around. He’s a survivor.

  2. How about just providing some basic services at a very reasonable Property Tax Rate? Cut out these Economic Development packages that only benefit friends of Dee Margo and a select group of Council members. Tommy Gonzelez and her little group of followers have given themselves nice six-figure salaries on the backs of the Taxpayers. It is time we stop the wasteful spending. Today we hear that the Great Wolf Lodge is backing out. The City gets 40 acres of land with no buyer and Paul Foster ends up with over 2000 acres in NE El Paso. What a deal !!

  3. Slightly off topic but I’m sure you saw we got some great news today. Great Wolf Lodge will not be coming to El Paso. My suspicion – the coronavirus wasn’t the real reason. If they saw the El Paso hotel as a real moneymaker, they would have just postponed. The pandemic won’t last forever and the customers would have returned eventually. My guess is they were already considering pulling the plug and the virus was a half excuse/ half straw that broke the camel’s back.

  4. I like the post, and the comments here. Let’s hope that somebody doesn’t try to revive that ridiculously expensive (especially for El Paso) water park hotel after this crisis is over. Likewise, the Trolley, unless they want to extend it to where it might actually provide transportation on both sides of the border. Now, if only we can get them to finally let go of the unneeded arena, we might see some progress in this regressed backwater.

  5. When even “special occasion” use diminishes, they will probably mothball the trolleys again. Then, 20 years down the road, somebody will say, “Hey! Why don’t we bring those trolleys back? It will be great for tourism!” I wonder when they’ll dig those wretched tracks out that are messing up traffic on Stanton and other streets. That was really the worst of it.

  6. What?! Great Wolf Lodge is NOT coming to El Paso? WTF? When did they announce that? What about Tommy’s ideas of Water Parks and $8.00 Gourmet Hot Dogs? $4.00 bottle of water?

    Man, I was looking forward to tasting a $8.00 Hot Dog!

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