Here’s an ’86’: In 1986, Portland’s MAX light rail opened, with the Blue Line (now called Eastside MAX) between downtown Portland and Gresham. This was the first light rail line I rode in the United States.
Funding for studying this line in the seventies came from state funds intended for the Mount Hood Freeway – local residents came out against the freeway and forced a cancellation. The line ended up being 83% federally funded, 12% state funded, and 5% locally funded.
Reportedly, in 1988, the line beat its 2005 weekday ridership projections.
And I saved the best for last: Sound Transit projects Link’s operating costs per passenger mile in ST2 to be 86 percent lower than bus service – 15c/mile as opposed to $1.12/mile. If my math is right, as Sound Transit 2 comes online, this will represent operating cost savings of over a million dollars per weekday relative to the same trips on buses.