Mass Transit Projects' High Cost Give Minimal Results

Factors such as age, labor costs, real estate, and construction all factor into why cities are paying more money for transit projects, but are still getting less on their return, writes David Lepeska for The Atlantic Cities.

Subway costs have remained relatively low internationally in comparison to places like New York. While Singapore is building the world's longest and fully automatic underground transit line at $130 million per kilometer, New York's subway line is costing $1.7b per km, the most expensive line of all time.

"Robert Paaswell, engineering professor at the City College of New York and director of the University Transportation Research Center, says costs are so high in Chicago and New York because their systems are the country's oldest and thus the most expensive to upgrade," writes Lepeska.

Also, United States population find public transit projects less of a priority in comparison to other European countries.

"There's no urgency by governments or citizens here to get subways done, and when it finally happens the construction causes so much inconvenience that people don't like it," said Paaswell, a former CTA executive director. "In Europe, they don't care too much about it, they just blast right through and get it done."

Full Story: Why $1 Billion Doesn't Buy Much Transit Infrastructure Anymore

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