Why Does Transit Cost So Much to Build in the U.S.?
So what makes transit so expensive to build in the U.S. compared with developed cities in Europe and Asia? Smith looks to Spain, which "has the most dynamic tunneling industry in the world and the lowest costs," for some lessons. "In 2003, Metro de Madrid Chief Executive Officer Manuel Melis Maynar wrote a list describing the practices he used to design the system's latest expansion. The don't-do list, unfortunately, reads like a winning U.S. transit-construction bingo card."
Among the obstacles to reducing costs in the U.S. identified by Smith are the slow pace of construction, complex and outdated legal requirements and procurement rules, conflicts of interest, and a lack of effective incentives and oversight.