Annually the New Starts program funds about $1.7 billion in ongoing projects around the country. Chump change. Check out Public Transit in Ottawa. They are discussing a $4 billion dollar investment in the city. $425 billion is the adjusted cost of the federal highway system. Certainly would be higher today because land costs much more. However look at the investment in Toronto, Canada.
Toronto is planning a $55 billion dollar transit investment. Our cities are hardly discussing a few billion per region in transit over the next 20 years, yet Toronto is planning a steady $2.2 billion a year for 25 years. Some of it is quite controversial such as an east west subway line, but its interesting that they are talking about a multi-year investment for a single city that is larger than the federal share of funds for all cities in the United States.