From a new Heritage study:
[E]ach of [Virginia Railway Express’] 7,800 passengers will require a taxpayer subsidy of $4,481 per year to keep the system going and growing. At that annual cost, taxpayers could lease or buy on credit a new mid-priced car for every VRE rider, and the government would still have millions of dollars left over for schools or tax relief.
Sounds familiar. From a 2004 St. Louis Federal Reserve study:
Based solely on dollar cost, the annual light-rail subsidies could instead be used to buy an environmentally friendly hybrid Toyota Prius every five years for each poor rider and even to pay annual maintenance costs of $6,000. Increases in pollution would be minimal with the hybrid vehicle, and 7,700 new vehicles on the roadway would result in only a 0.5 percent increase in traffic congestion. And there would still be funds left overÃ¢â?¬â??about $49 million per year. These funds could be given to all other MetroLink riders (amounting to roughly $1,045 per person per year) and be used for cab fare, bus fare, etc.
Want more? Go here. And, you know, cars would really do a lot of good for a lot of poor people.