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Life-Cycle Cost Analyses Reaps Financial Benefits for Cities

Money is tight for surface transportation projects, the area where the investment gap is largest. Making the right choices with limited budgets is a challenge for many communities. The Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) in California’s Bay Area found a way to streamline the process for its 26 transit authority members. Through its performance-based planning process, transit projects are evaluated against the triple-bottom line, or as MTC calls it, the “Three Es” of economy, environment, and equity. Rigorous benefit/cost analysis is performed to determine whether a proposed project’s expected benefits outweigh life cycle costs and to determine whether a project advances the “Three E’s.” The simple metrics offer clear results and valuable, data-driven analysis on which to make final funding decisions.

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