Previous versions of this working paper were originally published in March 2018 and March 2019.
The model separates transit’s commuting effects from local productivity or amenity effects, and spatial shift-share instruments identify inelastic labor and housing supply. Metro Rail connections increase commuting by 16% but do not have large effects on local productivity or amenities. Metro Rail generates $94 million in annual benefits by 2000, or 12%–25% of annualized costs. Accounting for reduced congestion and slow transit adoption adds, at most, $200 million in annual benefits.