Part of the problem with costing complaints for light rail is that everyone wants to throw everything into the project. From repaving the street to urban decor such as special pavers and street lamps. I'm all about these "betterments" but we need to understand that attaching them to the light rail project only makes it more expensive and gives opponents fodder when they go on about cost per mile estimates. In reality, the repaving of a street curb to curb should not penalize a project. If anything it should create a better mobility score for increasing the number of people that can use a street. Where's the transit SYSTEM user benefit for that?
But because such improvements are underfunded in general, cities see FTA funds as a gravy train for getting these important elements done. If we can figure out a way for these pieces of the overall puzzle to be eligible for another funding pot dedicated to pedestrian mobility that would be great. But we shouldn't have to. This is just another reason why the cost effectiveness measure that can kill a project based on a penny over a certain standard is dumb.