Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Those were the days

Ezra Klein (h/t TMG) cites Tim Lee, who in turn cites Clifton Hood, to the effect that the public sector chipped in about $3.8 billion (in today's dollars) to build the New York Subway.  Those were the days.

Paige Kolesar and I wrote about six newer U.S. subways last year.   Converting the reported capital costs of those systems to today's dollars, Miami (22 stations) cost $4.4 billion, Baltimore (14 stations) cost $6 billion, Atlanta (38 stations) $13.3 billion, Los Angeles (my favorite with 16 stations) $12.4 billion, Washington DC (86 stations) $73.7 billion and San Francisco (43 stations) $73.1 billion.  We showed that dollars per station, per mile, per passenger, per you-name-it make no sense.

But this matters for nothing.  Here is Wendell Cox's report on the latest lopsided transportation plan for Atlanta.  The mode with the fewest riders gets the most funding.  One upon a time, there was an argument that this was the way to change the world.  But that argument is beyond silly today.