O'Toole writes, "Urban mass transit is the most disappointing performer and least-productive part of the nation's transportation system. Since 1964, when Congress first passed the Urban Mass Transportation Act, transit costs have risen far faster than either revenues or ridership. This signals a tremendous decline in productivity.
"It's uncommon to find such a rapid productivity decline in any industry," wrote University of California economist Charles Lave in 1994. "If transit productivity had merely remained constant since 1964," Lave wrote, "total operating costs would be more than 40 percent lower" in 1985, the last year for which he had data. By 2006, after adjusting for inflation, operating costs per trip were 2.3 times as much as they were in 1964, while average fares had fallen by 24 percent from 1964.43 All of this additional cost came out of taxpayers' pockets."