Tim Cavanaugh and Scott Shackford on the Incredibly Empty Expo Line


Los Angeles' brand-new Expo Line, which opened a week ago to great fanfare, was supposed to carry 27,000 passengers per day. In fact, Tim Cavanaugh and Scott Shackford write, even the most charitable estimate shows the train is carrying no more than 13,000 people per day. Cavanaugh and Shackford spent two days this week counting and interviewing Expo Line riders, and discovered that the $930 million train is carrying so few riders and bringing in so little revenue that it will, at best, take 65 years for the train to earn back its capital investment (not including ongoing operating costs). If the project completes its next phase and establishes an at-grade train that runs through heavy street traffic from Downtown L.A. to the city of Santa Monica, it will not pay for its construction for 170 years.