Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Corridor Transit Service Options: An Investigation and Analysis

Policy Study

Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Corridor Transit Service Options: An Investigation and Analysis

Policy Study 372

The claimed economic benefits of the proposed commuter rail line for the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee corridor are “not credible” and other transit options should be studied, according to a new study by Reason Foundation, a free market think tank.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee analysis of the local economic benefits of the construction of the rail line wrongly assumes all expenditures, and jobs created, would be local, even though there is no local capacity to produce many of the components, such as the $48 million rail cars. And the $2.1 billion increase in property values the rail project alleges would mean that each of the 3,696 projected 2035 round-trip riders would be “worth” $568,000, a claim that “cannot be taken seriously” the Reason Foundation concludes.

Reason Foundation finds every new passenger boarding the commuter rail system would cost $28. Yet passengers would pay just $2.92 for a ticket, meaning taxpayers would subsidize over $25 for every new one-way rail passenger. By comparison, the total cost per passenger for the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) in 2007 was $3.

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Thomas A. Rubin, CPA, CMA, CMC, CIA, CGFM, CFM is a mass transit consultant in Oakland, California. He served as Controller-Treasurer of the Southern California Rapid Transit District from 1989 until the SCRTD/LACTC merger that formed the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1993. Prior to joining the SCRTD, he was a partner in and National Transit Services Director for Deloitte Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte & Touche). He earned his BSBA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his MBA from Indiana University-Bloomington.