No, the Seattle Monorail Project hasn't been resurrected. (You'll have to hold on to those free ride tickets a little longer). Today's monorail news comes from further afield: Specifically, Las Vegas and Sydney, Australia, two cities that are both experiencing major problems with their monorail systems.

In Las Vegas, the bondholder on the city's monorail project, Maryland-based Lord Abbott, is suing the monorail's financial underwriter, Citigroup, for fraud. The complaint charges that the ridership estimates used to convince the bond market that the monorail was a good investment were wildly inflated (by a company whose "record at forecasting ridership," I wrote back in 2002, has been "spotty at best.") The state of Nevada issued the bonds, and could ultimately be held liable if Citigroup is found guilty of fraud.

Meanwhile, in Sydney, the state government is likely to tear down the city's 3.6-km monorail to make way for a light rail system. The monorail's pillars form a bottleneck on a city street that is needed to reroute traffic so that the city can lay light rail tracks on a parallel street nearby. According to Jarrett Walker of Human Transit, the monorail was "much-disliked, especially in the narrow streets of the high-rise core where it added to the sense of overhead weight above the pedestrian."
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