Transit Costs Project Hosts Concluding Event


On October 26, Director of Transportation and Land Use, Eric Goldwyn, and the Transit Costs Project team (Goldwyn and Fellow Alon Levy, Research Scholar Elif Ensari, and Fellow Marco Chitti) hosted an event on the conclusion of their research on the cost drivers of transit-infrastructure projects, with Vice reporter Aaron Gordon moderating. Publications reporting on the event include:

  • Governing: “This month, the Transit Costs Project is planning to publish an overview of its findings. Among them: The United States is the sixth most expensive country in the world when it comes to building rapid rail projects.”
  • Vice: “Perhaps the most noteworthy conclusions of the years-long research is what Levy and their fellow researchers did not find. There is no magic bureaucratic structure for a transit agency to be run well and turn bad administrators into good ones. There is no magic funding mechanism that incentivizes transit agencies to be more fiscally responsible. There is no law or set of laws that can make transit agencies good.”
  • Streetsblog: Goldwyn is quoted: “In New York, there are itemized costs prepared by independent cost estimators to inform the MTA when evaluating fixed-price bids, but … those costs are considered a trade secret of the agency, not to be publicized or else it would interfere with the bidding process....Things like reference prices and itemized costs help keep things transparent so you have a sense of what’s going on. It’s not this static thing, you do it in 1990 and you never change it again. You get better with practice, so if you implement things that allow you to do it in a better way, you can learn from it, you can improve upon it. And you can build phase two, phase three, phase four, in a much more timely manner.”
  • Eno Center for Transportation: Fellow Philip Plotch writes: “Both Eno and Marron Institute are continuing their research efforts on improving the delivery of major transit projects. Marron Institute is starting a report on the efforts to transform the Northeast Corridor passenger rail system into a high speed train line and finalizing a report on the Second Avenue Subway.”

The team plans to release their final report within the next month.

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