Cato Institute: The Rise of High-Cost, Low-Capacity Rail Transit

In his Policy Analysis for the Cato Institute released June 3, 2014, Randal O’Toole questions the motives of rail advocates who are willing to support high-cost, low-capacity rail transit, noting: “Supporters of low-capacity lines are not truly interested in transportation; supporters of high-cost lines are not truly interested in urban efficiencies.”

The Worst of Both:

The Rise of High-Cost, Low-Capacity Rail Transit

Executive Summary

By Randal O’Toole

Most new rail transit lines in the United States and around the world are either light rail, including lines that sometimes run in or cross city streets, or heavy rail, which are built in exclusive rights of way, usually elevated or in subways. Heavy rail costs far more to build than light rail, but the capacity of light rail to move people is far lower than heavy rail. In fact, the terms light and heavy refer to people-moving capacities, not the actual weight of the equipment.