Giving Compass' Take:

· Writing for the Cato Institute, Randal O'Toole lists eight reasons why Congress should not renew the New Starts program as it comes up to expiration in 2020.

· What are the main changes needed to improve public transit? Should transit be handled by the federal government or at state and local levels? 

· Read more on this topic and America’s transportation dilemma.


Since 1992, federal taxpayers have helped fund construction of urban rail transit lines through a program called New Starts. This program is due to expire in 2020, and today the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on whether or not to renew it.

No doubt most of the witnesses at the hearing will be transit agency officials bragging about how their expensive projects have created jobs and generated economic development. But a close look at the projects built with this fund reveals that New Starts has done more damage to American cities than any other federal program since the urban renewal projects of the 1950s. Here are eight reasons why Congress should not renew the program.

  1. New Starts encourages cities to waste money.
  2. New Starts encourages cities to build obsolete technologies.
  3. Rail transit often increases congestion.
  4. New Starts forces transit agencies to go heavily in debt.
  5. New Starts forces cities to double-down on subsidies to generate rail ridership.
  6. Far from promoting economic development, New Starts may actually slow economic growth.
  7. New Starts harms low-income commuters.
  8. Rail transit harms the environment.

Read the full article about the New Starts program by Randal O'Toole at the Cato Institute.