Time For A Fresh Start For GAO Bus Rapid Transit Report
The time has come for Congress to request a new US General Accounting Office study to replace a recent, deeply flawed GAO report, "Mass Transit: Bus Rapid Transit Shows Promise" (GAO-01-984), assert Michael D. Setty and Leroy W. Demery, Jr. in this essay. "The integrity of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) project evaluations and recommendations for funding -- and of GAO itself -- are at stake", they warn. The authors contend that faulty methodology used in the GAO report has produced "the strong likelihood of misleading, inaccurate -- and absurd -- results." For example, "The 2001 -- and incompatible -- methods to determine unit operating costs for bus rapid transit and light rail transit ...." They note that the study compared 'incremental' costs for BRT, "derived using incremental (marginal) cost formulas used for management purposes", to 'total' costs for light rail (LRT), "based on annual total operating cost as reported to FTA." The report's "defective analytical framework" needs a "Correction of errors", including "recalculation of all BRT and LRT unit operating costs in the 2001 report." These and other problems, they contend, render the GAO report "of little use except as a propaganda tool...." Their conclusions: "Clearly, the time has come for a fresh start." They look to Congress to commission "a new GAO report on bus rapid transit."
Thanks to L. Henry