An Economic Re-Evaluation of the Proposed Los Angeles Rapid Transit System.

by Alan Carlin, Martin Wohl

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Examination of the economic justification for a rail transit system for Los Angeles as presented in the [Final Report] of the Southern California Rapid Transit District. The system, covering 90 route-miles, would be financed by a sales tax of one-half of one percent over the next 50 years. The authors conclude that the project is economically unjustified, as costs will exceed benefits. Through economically unsound conception and procedure, the [Final] [Report] overestimates the number of users on which economic calculations are based; overstates annual benefits by $80 million; and claims excessive "community benefits." Recomputation to adjust the foregoing errors reveals that annual costs would exceed benefits by $15 million in 1980. The rail transit proposal should be reviewed in comparison with other possible transportation improvements, such as express bus service along special roads to provide direct-connection feeder service; additional cross-town freeways; and substitution of "free-entry" taxi service for the present franchise type. 19 pp.

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