IB-2010-C (July 2010)
Author: The Center for the American Dream
Public transit is often portrayed as a low-cost, environmentally friendly alternative to auto driving. In fact, transit is much more costly than driving, and requires huge subsidies to attract riders. Moreover, transit systems in the vast majority of American cities use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases than the average car.
For every dollar collected in fares from transit riders, the average transit system in America requires more than $2 from taxpayers for operating subsidies plus more than $1 for capital improvements and maintenance. So it is not surprising that transit systems in Colorado require large subsidies. What may be surprising is that most are far less environmentally friendly than a typical sports utility vehicle.