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Government Failure in Urban Transportation

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  • Winston, Clifford

Abstract

This paper assesses governmental performance in its investment, provision, and regulation of urban transportation. Attention is given to public bus and rail transit and road transportation. Evidence based on urban transport in U.S. cities reveals substantial allocative and technical inefficiencies that have led to large public transit deficits and severe highway congestion. I argue that it is futile to expect public officials to remedy the situation by pursuing more efficient policies, such as congestion pricing and weighing costs and benefits when deciding transit service. The problem is that urban transportation policy is largely shaped by entrenched political forces that inhibit constructive change. The only realistic way to improve the system is to shield it from those influences and expose it to market forces by privatizing it. This position is supported by empirical evidence based on simulations for the United States and the United Kingdom's early experience with privatization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 504.

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Date of creation: Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:504

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References

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  1. Lave, Charles, 1991. "Measuring the Decline in Transit Productivity in the U.S," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt63g5j4z4, University of California Transportation Center.
  2. Karlaftis, Matthew & McCarthy, Patrick, 1999. "The Effect of Privatization on Public Transit Costs," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 27-43, July.
  3. Calfee, John & Winston, Clifford, 1998. "The value of automobile travel time: implications for congestion policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 83-102, July.
  4. David M. Newbery & Georgina Santos, 1999. "Road taxes, road user charges and earmarking," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(2), pages 103-132, June.
  5. Clifford Winston, 1998. "U.S. Industry Adjustment to Economic Deregulation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 89-110, Summer.
  6. Pashigian, B Peter, 1976. "Consequences and Causes of Public Ownership of Urban Transit Facilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1239-59, December.
  7. Walters, A. A., 1982. "Externalities in urban buses," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 60-72, January.
  8. Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Feng Xie & David Levinson, 2009. "Governance choice on a serial network," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 189-212, October.
  2. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2006. "Privatizing Highways in the United States," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 27-53, September.
  3. Yoshitaka Fukui & Kyoji Oda, 2012. "Discussion Paper: Who Should Take Responsibility for Unexpected Interest Changes? Lesson from the Privatization of Japanese Railroad System," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 263-278, June.
  4. Clifford Winston & Jia Yan, 2008. "US Highway Privatization and Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 2008-20, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.

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