Thursday, November 07, 2002

Slate: The Romance of the Monorail - The mass transit technology of Tomorrowland finally reaches today. By Brendan I. Koerner

There's an episode of The Simpsons in which a smooth-talking huckster named Lyle Lanley, patterned after Music Man charlatan Harold Hill, persuades Springfield's gullible townsfolk to build a $3 million monorail. The transit system debuts to tremendous fanfare—Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy shows up for the christening—but the euphoria is short-lived. Minutes into the maiden voyage, a brake line snaps, and the cartoon passengers nearly suffer a violent fate. The show's core joke is easy to get: How could these rubes not have realized that "monorail" is synonymous with "boondoggle"?

But a decade after "Marge vs. the Monorail" first aired, monorails are no longer mere punch lines.

Monorail would be much better than the light rail now tearing up Houston streets.

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