Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stats of the day

Buses vs. light rail:
The GAO found that the average cost of an exclusive busway ran about $13.5 million per mile. Costs for buses that used HOV lanes were much lower, averaging $9 million per mile. Light rail lines, which almost always require exclusive right-of-way, averaged $34.8 million per mile, ranging from just $12.4 million to $118.8 million per mile. 
But since politicians spend the public's money instead of their own, and rail is perceived as sexy and cool while buses are boring, we wind up with absurd situations such as the decision to extend Metrorail service to Dulles airport even while the system experiences perpetual budget problems and the airport already enjoys express bus service.

These stats about earmarks are also worth considering:
The number of "earmarks" -- specific projects inserted into legislation by individual members of Congress -- has increased from just ten in 1982, to 1,850 in 1998, to 6,371 in the 2005 federal highway bill.
Remember, the bigger the budget, the more earmarks can be doled out -- and that's how seemingly inconsequential earmarks drive up spending. 

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