, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 43–67 | Cite as

The effects of federal transit subsidy policy on investment decisions: The case of San Francisco's Geary Corridor

  • Jianling Li
  • Martin Wachs


In the United States, federal funding for public transit often accounts for a large proportion of a local agency's budget, especially for capital investments. For this reason, local governments can be expected to plan a portfolio of projects that maximize federal contributions. This study examines the financial effects of federal transit subsidy policy on local transit investment decisions. Data from a System Planning Study for the Geary Corridor in San Francisco are used as an illustration. It is found that federal transit subsidy policy provides financial incentives for local decision-makers to select capital-intensive investment options that may not be efficient or effective. While federal financial incentives are not the only factor influencing local investment decisions, some reform of the current subsidy policy may be necessary to reduce the incentive for ineffective use of public resources.

capital costs San Francisco subsidy transit 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianling Li
    • 1
  • Martin Wachs
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Urban & Public AffairsUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Transportation Studies, City & Regional Planning, Carlson Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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