Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Paint is cheap

And rail transit is expensive, said Obama Administration head of the Federal Transit Administration, Peter Rogoff, in a speech at the Boston Federal Reserve in 2010.  His point being that public transit officials have a bias toward rail transport, but they often can provide more and better service with spiffed up buses.

With very very little cost it's possible to move a lot of people, if the rail bias doesn't get in the way.  Which means it is going to take a 'little honesty' in facing up to the huge backlog of deferred maintenance of those existing rail systems, which he estimated at approaching $60 billion dollars.

Rogoff admitted that the majority of public transit trips are made by bus, not rail, but that 3/4 of the deferred maintenance is for rail.  Meaning that it is not just that bus transport is cheaper to operate now, but that rail, if one includes the costs of the deferred maintenance, is only going to be even more expensive in the future.

If that is the case now, he asked, why does it make sense to expand rail systems?

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