But it’s always good to look back at some of the assumptions made about mass transit and especially light rail. Because it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Our friend Randal O’Toole, a bicycle enthusiast, free market transportation expert, and Oregon resident, who works for the Cato Institute recently writes about St. Louis’ light rail system:
Despite investing hundreds of millions of dollars into light rail, the share of St. Louis-area commuters using transit has actually declined to 2.8 percent today from 6.9 percent in 1979.
Metro’s buses today consume more energy and emit more greenhouse gases, per passenger mile, than a typical sport utility vehicle. Its light-rail lines do better, but consume almost as much energy, and emit almost as much greenhouse gas, per passenger mile, as the average car.
Moreover, even where rail operations do save energy, this savings almost never makes up for the huge energy cost of rail construction. Highway construction also consumes energy, but because highways are more heavily used than rail lines, their energy cost per passenger mile is far lower.
Read the rest here.