Beemer SUVs for All!

Light rail transit is bust in every justification used for it (see here). An interesting sidebar is that it is cheaper to give everyone riding a typical light rail line a BMW SUV than it is to provide the light rail system. For proof of the proposition, start by looking in almost any daily newspaper. The Newark Star-Ledger, for example, recentlycarried an advertisement for a new BMW X-5 luxury SUV, available for lease at an annual cost of less than $6,300. Then compare that to the cost of rail. For example, the Federal Transit Administration reported in 2000 that each new trip on the Hiawatha light rail line in Minneapolis would cost a projected $18.57ââ?¬â??and this was before the cost of the line escalated more than 50 percent. Using the pre-escalation number, the cost for each new annual commuter using the line two ways each work day (for 450 trips each year) would be approximately $8,400ââ?¬â??or about $2,100 more than the cost to lease a BMW luxury SUV for the year. If that’s not clear enough, see Chart 1 for a graphical comparison.

Adrian Moore

Adrian Moore, Ph.D., is vice president of policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.