Transit benefits all, not just its riders [Letter]

January 30, 2014

Christopher Summers of the Maryland Public Policy Institute writes of the O'Malley-Brown administration's folly in using our tax dollars for "costly transit projects" used by "less than 10 percent of Marylanders" ("Maryland should brace for another round of taxes on transportation," Jan. 27).

Mr. Summers apparently assumes that spending on transit confers little or no spill-over benefits on non-riders. Unfortunately, a very recent independent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research demonstrates the falsity of Mr. Summers' assumption. The study reports large benefits in reduced peak-hour traffic congestion for private auto drivers when transit services are available.

An analogy for Mr. Summers' argument comes to mind: spending our tax dollars on prisons is wasteful because the great majority of us never use prisons. Q.E.D.?

David Salkever, Baltimore

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