Should taxpayers be asked to pay more to fund expansions in existing public transit? That is the question facing city governments throughout the Phoenix metropolitan region. While proponents of increased funding of transit are doing their best to promote such tax increases, municipal government would do well to consider the implications before rushing to board the transit "bandwagon". An objective analysis of these implications indicates that the costs appear to far outweigh the benefits.
Admittedly, the purported benefits of expanded public transit are, indeed, seductive. These benefits include the notion that expanded public transit will have a significant impact on reducing traffic congestion and, thereby, make a major contribution to improving urban air quality. Further, it is asserted that expanded public transit is a social welfare program, necessary to help ameliorate urban poverty. Finally, it is asserted that public transit is a "good investment" that will help promote a community's prosperity. It would be great if public transit could make a cost-effective contribution to any of these objectives. Unfortunately, it cannot. In fact, it seems more likely that increasing taxes in order to expand public transit would work against the advancement of all of these objectives.