Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Investing in Rail Better Job Creation than Roads

From New America Media (link)

The relevent(s):
The figures make a lot of sense when you consider the difference in these endeavors: building new roads and expanding highways mostly involves paving over dirt, with some amount of construction of raised flyovers and interchanges. Extending a rail line means manufacturing the rail and the rail cars, then laying them, and after they are laid, on-going operation of the train. Similarly, new bus lines involve vehicle and parts manufacturing and long-term operations. Because most transit agencies also have Buy America policies, public transportation investment creates industry jobs in the United States, as well as construction jobs—on-going operating jobs are an added plus.

For individuals struggling to reduce their personal expenses in this affordability crisis, being able to rely on buses and trains can free up money that would otherwise be spent on a car. In the United States, transportation is the second highest household expense, after housing. But people who live in a neighborhood well served by public transportation are able to reduce their spending on transportation from 25 percent of their household budget to just 9 percent. The money they save can go to ensuring that they pay their mortgage or rent on time or these dollars can go back into the economy through purchasing goods and services.
Let's examine how much I save in transportation costs since loosing myself from the vexing finger-cuffs at the hands of Toyota, shall we:

What I would spend per month if nothing in my current living situation were to change and I were to add a new shiny smoke gray auto to my family. Meaning, still living and working downtown; keeping most of my cavorting and social gallivanting contained within loop 12. I'll also assume that toll fares and parking meters work out to be negligible.

Oh, and I would be purchasing this car.


Cost .............................................................$$/mo.
Buying/Leasing a new car..........................................300
Down Payment prorated over 12 months.........................200
Insurance...............................................................150
Parking (at Interurban Building)..............................120 (wtf?!)
Gas (at the rate I used to of 1 fill-up/mo.).....................40

Airport parking (private travel)......................................15
~Taxes, Tags, & Fees...................................................30


TOTAL..............................................$855/mo
or $10,260 in the first year of ownership

Expense sans Auto.........................................$/mo.
Monthly DART pass (assuming I had one)....................50
~ Cab Fees (entertainment purposes).........................30
Non-expensed airport cabfare (ie not for work)...........15
Occasional rental car use & gas (prorated).................35


TOTAL..............................................$130/mo
or $1,560 for the next year


Except that I don't ride DART enough currently to warrant a monthly pass so let's knock those numbers down to more accurate levels:

TOTAL..............................................$90/mo
or $1,080 for the year

Now, it could be argued that I pay a premium to live downtown. I would guess that number is about $0.30/sq.ft. per month equating to an additional $210/mo. premium for walkability or an extra $2520/yr.

So that is a mobility cost of $3,600 (current state) vs. $10,260 via car ownership, meaning that I'm saving (or just spending in other ways) $6,660 per year.

For comparison, the article referenced a savings of 64% on transportation. Mine came out to 64.92%.