EN Route to Boom or Bust
Optimism Colluded by Serious Problems
Public mass transit in America appears at first glance to be a thriving industry. A brand new light-rail system in Buffalo, running right down the middle of a Main Street mall before heading underground, officially opened in May. Shiny new heavy-rail lines are just over a year old in Miami and Baltimore.1 Rail systems are under construction in Sacramento and Santa Clara County, Calif., and Portland, Ore., and are on the drawing boards in several other places. In other localities bus fleets are being expanded. A large constituency supports mass transit as an integral part of daily urban life.
But underlying the optimism of mass transit's advocates are serious problems that threaten the viability of the ...