When Does Rail Transit Make Sense?

Capitol Hill Briefing
April 9, 2010 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT

B-339 Rayburn House Office Building

Featuring Randal O'Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, and author, Gridlock: Why We're Stuck in Traffic and What to Do about It; and Ronald Utt, Herbert and Joyce Morgan Senior Research Fellow, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation.

Transit agencies regularly splurge on expensive but little-used rail transit lines, then declare them to be great successes. And for good reason: if they admitted that federally subsidized rail lines were failures and quit running them, they would have to reimburse the feds. How can you know whether a rail transit line is really successful or whether the transit agency is trying to avoid admitting that it wasted so much money? To answer this question, Cato scholar Randal O'Toole developed six different tests, including profitability and effects on ridership, and used them to evaluate more than 70 rail transit systems in dozens of cities. Please join Randal O'Toole and Ron Utt of the Heritage Foundation to discuss how rail transit measures up and how it affects urban mobility.