NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Transit Spending, Less Urban Growth

November 21, 2013

Contrary to the claims of many transit advocates, regions that spend more money on transit seem to grow slower than regions that spend less, says Randal O'Toole, a Cato Institute senior fellow.

Results that support this finding:

  • The stiff taxes required by urban areas that spend heavily on transit represent a burden to consumers and businesses, and seem likely to contribute to a slowing of economic growth.
  • Regions that spent more on transit capital improvements in the 1990s tended to grow slower in the 2000s than regions that spent less.

The fastest-growing urban areas of the country tend to offer transit service mainly to people who lack access to automobiles. Urban areas that seek to provide high-cost transit services, such as trains, in order to attract people out of their cars, tend to grow far slower.

Source: Randal O'Toole, "Transit Spending Slows Urban Growth," Cato Institute, November 6, 2013.


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