by Randall O'Toole
Cato Institute
June 12, 2014
Policy Analysis
In general, there are two kinds of rail transit line: heavy and light. The former costs more money; the latter can carry fewer people. Now, a host of U.S. cities are building hybrid rails that combine the worst of both – the cost disadvantages of heavy, and the limited carrying capacity of light. Obviously this is a mistake. In the end, building new rail transit lines, at least in the Americas, is almost always a mistake. Putting the same amount of money to use in relieving congestion for everyone by undertaking such projects as coordinating traffic signals and building high-occupancy toll lanes adjacent to crowded highways would produce far greater benefits. Alternatively, providing the same transit capacity with buses instead of trains would cost far less.

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