Unproductive investments

SFGate: Bay Area transit up for unprecedented overhaul

In the last decade we almost doubled the amount of money we put toward transit, while increasing service only 16 percent and ridership only 7 percent. Which calls for more strong words from the report:

“That is a terrible return on our region’s transit investment, and it should cause us to think long and hard before committing future funds to such a low-yield strategy.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/transportation/detail?blogid=33&entry_id=61502#ixzz0llHxwksw

One thought on “Unproductive investments

  1. In Chicago, it seems like the biggest barrier to a long-term funding solution and sustainable service improvement is the high political capital required to resolve the spiraling pension and health care costs that grow exponentially as far as agency funding documents forecast (similar to many other state and local government agencies). Is this the reason why MUNI’s costs have increased but service has effectively stayed the same? This problem is different than declining farebox recovery or decreasing systemwide/route productivity that would perhaps more aptly be summarized as an ‘unproductive investment.’
    This pension/health care issue is at least as difficult as creating regionally-accepted fare media (something that the bay area has struggled with – probably, like Chicago, because of interagency payment disputes and less due to technology) or consolidating agencies (as suggested in this article). In any case, hopefully this overhaul will include institutional, political, financial, technical, and environmental considerations and recommendations. There is a lot of room for decision-makers to make big improvements – especially as the data and technology continue to evolve to better support/justify taking action on these difficult decisions.


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