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"Huge Sums... spent on mass transit" - it's 20% of the highway trust fund. And the FTA obligated around $10 billion (Table 1) in FY 2009 for transit but the congestion benefit of transit was over $18 billion (page 33) so I'd say it's a pretty good deal.

I have no idea what you think your first link has to do with the issue. It's a table of FTA appropriations. The relevant number is the amount of money collected from drivers in gas taxes and other highway-usage fees that was diverted to mass transit instead of being spent on roads. That number is reported in the FHWA Highway Statistics, Table HF-10. The figure for 2009 does not seem to be available, but for 2008 it was $15 billion. I'd certainly call that a huge sum.

Your attempt to justify this diversion of highway-user revenues to mass transit on the grounds of congestion relief is specious, relying on a meaningless apples-to-oranges comparison. Per your second link, the TTI estimates that mass transit provided $18 billion in congestion relief in 2009. That is the total congestion relief benefit from all transit spending. In 2009, total transit spending was about $54 billion. Therefore, the congestion relief benefit attributable to the $15 billion diverted from highway users is not $18 billion, but only (15/54) *18 = $5 billion. So drivers paid $15 billion for only $5 billion in congestion relief benefit. That is a very bad deal for drivers, and a very inefficient use of public funds.

by Bertie on Sep 7, 2011 2:30 pm • linkreport

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