Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rigging reports for rail - even left-Dems see bias, Dulles Toll Road cited,, December 12, 2011

The website TollRoadNews today published an article that provides an extensive overview of a May 2011 report criticizing bias in transit decisions toward selecting rail options.  The report focuses on the effectiveness of bus rapid transit (BRT) as an alternative.  The article begins:

A report published by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy says that the transit selection process is rigged in favor of less effective rail projects and seriously biased against bus and road. The report "Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit: a Survey of Select US Cities" is written by  Annie Weinstock, Michael Replogle and Ramon Cruz. Replogle at least has been a vocal opponent of roads and a transit supporter, employed for years at the Environmental Defense Fund. The ITDP report has an Introduction by longtime transit enthusiast Congressman Earl Blumenaeuer, Democrat-Oregon.

Dulles Toll corridor prime example of bias & mis-selection

Cited as an example of rigged selection against bus is the Dulles Toll Road corridor where an approximate $6 billion rail transit line is currently under construction, the financing being heavily based on toll revenue bonds.
The financing plan for Dulles Rail assumes huge surpluses that supposedly can be generated by the Toll Road with large increases in toll rates.
A problem is that estimates of the revenue yield of high toll rates are especially uncertain in the case of several fold increases in tolls. At some point a revenue maximizing toll rate is hit - beyond which further increases in toll rates actually reduce revenue. Where that revenue maximizing toll point is located is very difficult for modelers to estimate.
If less expensive bus rapid transit had been chosen instead of rail the huge risk being taken with toll revenues of the Dulles Toll Road would not have been necessary.
Read the full article by clicking here

The study itself is a huge PDF file--some 26MBs--and can not be stored on available document archive sites.  To access this full report, click on this link.   

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