Even spotting light rail billions of dollars of taxpayers' money over the decades, didn't make a silk purse;
Billions of local, state, and federal dollars have been invested in 650 miles of new light rail lines in 16 regions, and today 144 miles of additional lines are under construction at a cost of more than $25 billion. Many more lines are planned. No region has invested in a new heavy rail subway system, on the other hand, since 1993.
Based on the decisions to build these projects, which were made by hundreds of local officials and often endorsed by residents through referenda, you might think that the experience building light rail in the 1980s had been unambiguously successful. Yet it doesn't take much digging to find that over the past thirty years, these initial five systems in themselves neither rescued the center cities of their respective regions nor resulted in higher transit use — the dual goals of those first-generation lines.
According to an analysis of Census data, in four of the five cities with new light rail lines, the share of regional workers choosing to ride transit to work declined, and the center city's share of the urbanized area population declined, too. San Jose was the only exception, seeing a quarter of a percentage increase in the percentage of workers using transit and a 6 percentage point increase in its center city's share of the urbanized area.Almost total failure to meet promised results. So;
... regions that invested in light rail in the 1980s largely failed to increase the share of workers commuting by transit, or to increase the vitality of their center cities with respect to the surrounding regions. Does this mean we should cease investment in new light rail lines? Certainly not....Our bold (after we stopped laughing).