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Mon May 23, 2022, 11:36 AM

Why does transit infrastructure cost so much in the U.S.?

Why does transit infrastructure cost so much in the U.S.?
Dylan Miettinen
Mar 28, 2022

{snip}

It costs a lot to build in the U.S.

“We do spend a lot more money here in this country, and it seems to be particularly acute in New York. But the kind of a cost per mile of building new transit, you know, is substantially higher than other developed countries with similar economies and democratic structures,” said Paul Lewis, policy director of the Eno Center for Transportation, a nonprofit think tank.

Take transit projects in Paris and Madrid, for example — they cost around $160 million to $320 million per mile, according to an analysis by the Eno Center. Similar investments in the U.S. cost far more.

Los Angeles’ Purple Line, for example, clocked in at $800 million per mile and San Francisco’s Central Subway cost around $920 million per mile. And the heavyweight? New York City’s Second Avenue Subway, at a per-mile cost of $2.6 billion. (Oh, and don’t forget New York’s East Side Access tunnel. That came in at a cost of $3.5 billion per mile of track.)

According to a 2021 Eno Center analysis, the U.S. spent an average of 50% more on a per-mile basis for both at-grade and tunnel transit systems than other peer countries. Highways and roads are costly, too. A 2019 paper from the Brookings Institution found that spending on interstate construction more than tripled from the 1960s to the 1980s. ... Meanwhile, a report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of C-.

{snip}

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Reply Why does transit infrastructure cost so much in the U.S.? (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves May 23 OP
peppertree May 23 #1
honest.abe May 23 #2
thatdemguy May 23 #3

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2022, 11:54 AM

1. Because we adopted the mafia's contracting model

Rigged bids, patronage, cost-plus, etc.

It's what you routinely see in Russia and the third world - and I doubt we'll ever be able to reform it.

Too many people making too much money.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2022, 11:57 AM

2. I think another big factor is legal issues are more prevalent here in the US.

For example the Purple Line in Montgomery county Maryland was delayed over a year due to a group of home owners who didnt want a rail line in their backyard. That 1 year delay ballooned the costs to the point that the group that won the contract Purple Line Transit Partners terminated the contract since they were on the hook for the extra costs.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2022, 12:21 PM

3. And is some areas kick backs

There was bridge on 695 around Baltimore that got replaced years ago. The contractor who did it had never had more than a 100k road repair contract. The bridge replacement was a few million, strangely enough he also made a few 100k of political donations the next year.

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