Rail Transportation – a Major Component of the Seven50 Plan
If you read all of the documents that comprise the Seven50 Plan you’d realize that the Seven50 Plan is a land use plan developed to maximize the misguided investment needed to build and support the Rail Transportation plans currently in play. In other words, create high density, walkable housing communities close to the rail transit stations in order to encourage (I read “force”) people to ride the train instead of driving their personal cars. Instead of allowing people some choice to live as they prefer and then bring transit options to them, build the train and transit lines and then bring the people to the stations. That sounds backwards to me.
I’m not against trains per se. When I need to go where they go, I consider them a mighty fine, if costly, option. But trains can’t go everywhere – it’s just not cost-effective. And even today’s limited train lines are not financially self-sufficient; they are highly subsidized by government.
There are other arguments put forth to justify the push toward more transit, such as reducing congestion, adding mobility for low-income citizens, and limiting CO2. And all of them are debunked in this article written by Wendell Cox for The Heritage Foundation, published January 31, 2013.
If you take the Transit out of The Seven50 Plan, the Plan makes no sense. Let’s get our priorities in line. If we want Transit then let’s turn the discussion to Transit and not cloak it under a plan that appears to emphasis social re-engineering and land use policies.
Transit Policy in an Era of the Shrinking Federal Dollar
For three decades, federal gas taxes have supported urban transit services, principally to relieve traffic congestion through urban rail systems. The federal transit program has been justified with claims of providing mobility to low-income citizens and reducing emissions from automobiles. However, transit has not delivered on any of these objectives. Moreover, transit’s benefits are highly concentrated in just six “transit legacy cities”; to which more than half the nation’s transit commuting occurs. The costs of transit have risen far more than its ridership. For all these reasons, transit should not be a priority for federal funding, especially during severe budget constraints. This Backgrounder evaluates transit’s performance and provides a wider context of issues that should be included in any examination of transit and its support by federal subsidies.
The federal government has been providing subsidies to mass transit since the 1960s. The principal justification was originally to reduce traffic congestion and to provide mobility alternatives to cars for low-income citizens. In addition, transit has been subsidized to reduce automobile emissions.
Since 1983, transit has received a share of the federal user fees paid by drivers, principally through fuel taxes. Additional diversions from federal user fees have been authorized by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program. In 2010, the latest year for which data are available, the total diversion from federal user fees approached $6 billion. This left $29 billion for expenditures on highways and roads. The 17 percent share of federal user fees was much greater than transit’s little more than 1 percent of the nation’s surface travel. Overall, highway user fees supported each transit passenger mile 17 times more than each highway passenger mile ($0.1130 for transit; $0.0067 for highways). (See Chart 1.)
The full report with is available at the Heritage Foundation website www.heritage.org
Filed under: All Aboard Florida
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