Mass Transit Systems Have a Hard Time Paying the Bills

Interesting article on the difficulty in funding public transit system in the US of A. But the article makes one of those typical mistakes…

Because mass transit systems are so expensive to operate, they rely heavily on subsidies from federal, state, and local coffers. But the flow of money has not kept pace with the ridership growth.

Mass Transit Systems Have a Hard Time Paying the Bills – US News and World Report

No, mass transit systems aren’t that expensive to operate when compared to building highways, maintaining highways and subsidizing the private transit system, it just feels that way because our media and political overlords have normalized us into thinking that highways = infrastructure and public transit = subsidy. If you don’t believe me, go read just about every artile on public transit, and the obligatory yearly complaint article about “subsidies” for Amtrak.

Meanwhile, here’s a much better article on public transit including this money quote…

A 25 percent reduction in federal highway spending would clear the way for a tenfold increase in annual federal transit spending–sufficient to produce a sea change in the way cities build their transportation networks.

The Bellows » The Forgotten Solution

(h/t) Mathew Yglesias

Those numbers are mind boggling, and if we can flip our language so highway=subsidy and mass transit=infrastructure, maybe we can make some headway in dealing with our emissions issues.

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1 comment for “Mass Transit Systems Have a Hard Time Paying the Bills

  1. LA Bruce
    April 4, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Vancouver will be an interesting case study for you to watch from ground zero. Huge capital investments in mass transit (light rail Millenium and Green lines) underway, and relatively few highways in the metro area. Will the investment pay off? (I hope so!)