A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from December 0

Urban Rail Transit: On the Wrong Track

By Randal O'Toole -- April 21, 2010

In 2006, Nashville began operating the Music City Star, a commuter train between Lebanon and Nashville. Transit officials brag that this is “the most cost-effective commuter train in the country” because they spent only $41 million to begin service.

To be cost-effective, however, you need more than just a train: that train needs to produce something. The Music City Star carries only about 250 commuters on round trips each day, riders who could easily have been accommodated in a few buses costing less than $3 million. In fact, it would have been less expensive to give each of those commuters a new Toyota Prius every year for the next 30 years than to operate the train.

Since 1970, American cities have spent about $100 billion building new rail transit lines, and virtually all of it has been wasted.…

Mobility versus the “Congestion Coalition” (freedom versus planning revisited)

By Randal O'Toole -- February 2, 2010

“Unrestricted mobility is every bit as important to American freedom and economic health than health care reform. I hope that the people who have fought socialized health care will work just as hard to fight the congestion coalition.”  – R. O’Toole

The United States is the most mobile nation on earth, with the average American traveling nearly twice as many miles per year as the average resident of any other country. That mobility, the vast majority of which is provided by automobiles, has produced enormous benefits, including higher incomes, lower cost consumer goods, better housing, and access to a wide variety of social and recreational opportunities.

Transportation touches everyone’s lives every single day, and most American have to deal with traffic congestion several times a week. So when Congress takes up the subject of federal transportation funding, which it does every six years, people ought to be as concerned as they have been in the ongoing health-care debate.…