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Denver outspends everyone on this

Someone at the Wall Street Journal noticed that Denver's transit agency has outspent other top transit agencies, after accounting for number of rides -- and by a huge margin.

But the accompanying graphic conspires against the journalist.


For one thing, Denver is at the bottom of the page. Denver's two bars do not stand out in any way. New York's transit system dwarfs everyone else in both number of rides and total capital expenses and funding. And the division into local, state, and federal sources of funds is on the page, absorbing readers' mindspace for unknown reasons.

But Denver is an outlier, as can be seen here:




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As an area resident, I expect the data as shown doesn't tell the full story. Unlike many cities with relatively static sized transit systems, Denver has been investing heavily in expanding the light rail into new parts of town over the past years. This has been a lot of up-front costs that other systems might not have at the moment.

As shown, the data makes the system simply look expensive on a per ride basis, but I suspect it would look very different if one separated operational costs from expansion costs.


To spend more money than another person, is not a good habit.

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