In recent decades, Congress has increasingly departed from user-pay systems, and instead requires users of some forms of transportation-primarily auto drivers-to pay for other forms of transportation-primarily public transit. In addition to being unjust, this policy has led to excessive construction costs and the selection of transportation projects whose costs far outweigh their benefits. One symptom of this misallocation of funds is the growing congestion in America’s urban areas.

Proponents of urban transit and intercity high-speed rail are using concerns about energy and global warming to promote the diversion of even more highway user fees to their favored forms of transportation. Yet these alternative forms of transportation are unlikely to save energy or significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More on Urban Growth and Transportation


San Antonio Transit Isn’t Worth Preserving

By Randal O’Toole. Big Jolly Times. November 19, 2018.

Why Passenger Trains Don’t Work in Europe

By Randal O’Toole. Real Clear Policy. November 1, 2018.

Take Passenger Trains off Life Support

By Randal O’Toole. Morning Consult. October 19, 2018.

Cato Studies

Charting Public Transit’s Decline

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 853. November 8, 2018.

The Effect of Zoning on Housing Prices

By Ross Kendall and Peter Tulip. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 124. August 1, 2018.

Ride-Sharing, Fatal Crashes, and Crime

By Angela Dills and Sean E. Mulholland. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 120. July 5, 2018.


Financing Urban Revitalization: A Pro-Growth Template

Steve H. Hanke. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance. Vol. 30. No. 3. 2018.

How the Met Council Misplans the Twin Cities

Randal O'Toole. Thinking MN. No. 7. Spring 2017.

The Streetcar Scam

Randal O'Toole. MI Report. May 31, 2012.

Public Filings

Comments on Proposed Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Mandate

By Randal O’Toole. Public Comments. April 7, 2017.

Flytenow, Inc. v. Federal Aviation Administration

By Ilya Shapiro, Berin Szoka, Randal John Meyer, & Thomas W. Struble. Legal Briefs. July 25, 2016.

Managing Federal Lands

By Randal O’Toole. Testimony. February 9, 2016.

Cato Reviews & Journals

A Fine Romance?

Policy Report. September/October 2018.

Who Should Pay for Infrastructure?

Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack. Regulation. Spring 2018.

What Agency Improves Rulemaking the Most?

Sam Batkins. Regulation. Fall 2017.


Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need

Featuring Randal O'Toole, Art Guzzetti, Jim Mathews, Marc Scribner, & Jason Kuznicki. October 10, 2018. Book Forum.

The Future of Public Transit

Featuring Randal O'Toole and Jarrett Walker. October 2, 2018. Policy Forum.

The Federal Role in Public Transit

Featuring Randal O'Toole and Jarrett Walker. October 1, 2018. Capitol Hill Briefing.


Why Government Planning Always Fails

By Randal O’Toole. September 29, 2007.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Federal Highway Policies

By Chris Edwards and Gabriel Roth. August 2017.

Public Housing and Rental Subsidies

By Howard Husock. February 2017.

Privatizing Amtrak

By Chris Edwards. October 2016.