Urban Transportation Projects as Market Failures

The Seattle Times today presented one of the best arguments I have seen for terminating the Monorail Project:

• Operations would almost certainly have to be subsidized somehow

, as no public-finance expert interviewed by The Times believes the monorail’s claims that it can support itself from fares, ads and self-generated revenue.

“Typically, urban transportation projects in the United States are not self-supporting,” said Scott Trommer, senior director at Fitch Ratings, one of the nation’s three bond-rating agencies. “They require subsidy support, from some kind of dedicated tax or government grants.”

And, terminate all the other analogous projects.

Well, at least, evaluate them in the market. If a private business will not operate them, can not operate the project at a profit, then terminate the project. Government projects should not be held to lower standards than private industry.

If you know of projects that contradict this please let me know!

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  1. July 16, 2005

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