WHY RAIL WILL FAIL: AN ANALYSIS OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY'S LONG RANGE PLAN

In March 1995, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority adopted a Long Range 20 Year Plan--"A Plan for Los Angeles County: Transportation for the 21st Century". Analysis of the $72 billion plan reveals a multitude of flaws and inconsistencies in predictive models, baseline and scenario results, and against existing data. Population forecasts--a critical component of planning--are internally inconsistent within the plan. The plan is heavily skewed toward rail, which is made to look more favorable by highly selective accounting. While the two top light rail performers predicted by the plan do not satisfy its own nebulous criteria for inclusion in the primary scenario, these same rail projects are funded at 130% over original cost estimates. And while total Metrolink ridership is less than any one of several MTA bus lines, the long-term plan effectively calls for a $454.3 million reduction in bus funding over the term of the plan. With regard to air quality, integrally related to transportation planning, the plan ignores data showing that rail projects rate very poorly on air quality improvements compared to almost anything else, and the MTA's air quality analysis does not consider the possibility that planned reduction of bus service will induce many trips in older, poorly maintained, high-emission automobiles--potentially making air quality worse, not better. Finally, it does not appear that the plan conforms to even the MTA's own interpretation of the Federal Transit Authority guidelines, nor are literal models of the FTA's guidelines used to establish staff recommendations put forth in the plan. It is concluded that if the MTA's Long-Term Plan is followed, the MTA will find itself committed to construction of rail lines it cannot afford to build or operate. It is recommended that the MTA convene a panel of independent external experts to review both the planning process and the plan.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report is Part 1 of a Series on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
  • Corporate Authors:

    Reason Foundation

    3415 S Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 400
    Los Angeles, CA  United States  90034
  • Authors:
    • Rubin, T A
    • Moore II, J E
  • Publication Date: 1996-7

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 32 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00730199
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Policy Study No. 209
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 10 1997 12:00AM