Reconnecting America updates its Transit Space Race for 2013. Their main point seems to be there are $250 billion worth of unbuilt transit in the US, and we should build it, and at current federal spending rates, we won't get this done for 8 decades. I can think of a lot worse uses for the money, but also better. Of course the estimated cost is only the cost for 497 projects which have estimated costs, and does not include the 224 projects without cost estimates.
There is no answer as to why it is a federal responsibility to fund local serving transit.
They provide a map of the US, with number of projects per CMSA. The Twin Cities comes in fourth (behind LA, Baltimore-Washington, and Chicago) in the number of proposed but unfunded projects. I am not sure whether to be proud or dismayed that we weren't first.
At any rate, it won't take long for the observant reader to identify some double (or I think triple) counting or alternatives under different guises both of which would likely never be built (streetcar and rapid bus in the same corridor, e.g.). Nevertheless, as a first cut summary, this is useful for the fantasy transit planner in all of us.
They also have categories of BRT (bus rapid transit) and Rapid bus. This is confusing to professionals, much less the public. We need better terms of art for one or both of these things. There are lots of terms floating around, but I think the aim is to obfuscate as much as communicate.
Update, Jan 22, 15:55. Reconnecting America writes in:
Hey David, Thanks for posting about the space race. Since you turned off comments a few weeks ago I’d like to email a few comments instead. First of all, in the introduction under the map we do mention that “this catalog is not a list of projects we would like to see built or an endorsement of any project. It is simply a list of what regions around the country have listed as potential projects.” As you know many of these projects can be dogs and we certainly don’t wish them all to be built. In fact there are reasons why many of them fall to the wayside. But I think it is important to list them. I also agree that Rapid Bus and BRT are confusing. In some spots we do have BRT listed because there is a hope locally that dedicated lanes will be available but we know that really won’t happen when the costs are shown. One of the biggest reasons for not collecting data on all the rapid bus lines in the country is the sheer number out there. When we first started collecting data they just showed up in droves, which I guess is good that folks are thinking about transit, but hard to get a handle on what was just a colored bus running the same route it always had. In any event, thanks again for posting and I think you’re characterization of it is spot on. It’s meant to be a first cut list of all things possible and its certainly an interesting look into what regions are thinking at this point in time.