In the long run it won’t matter a great deal that the light-rail system is being delivered almost six months later than originally planned. It’s hardly the first time that a major infrastructure project is behind schedule.
For a system that will be around for decades, a small delay isn’t significant. And certainly, nobody wants public transit that is rushed to meet a deadline and therefore isn’t safe. But city officials can’t have it both ways: they promised it would be on time and it won’t be. And residents deserve some straight answers on why the consortium building the light rail line won’t be paying a penalty for missing the original deadline.
That penalty was cited over and over again by politicians and other officials as the city’s guarantee of a timely outcome. Now the consortium is off the hook. Once the system is operating effectively, people will probably forget the delay. But that doesn’t mean residents don’t deserve some answers in the meantime, while they’re riding buses for an extra six months.