TRANSPORTATION: More than Chalk Talk

New York City's public transportation system has well earned its bad name. The city-run subways (237 miles) and surface lines (554 miles) are often slow, sporadic, smelly—and they are running $17 million in the red this year. Last week a private operator offered to relieve New York of this financial headache, reportedly was ready to pay upwards of $500 million in cash and bonds—give or take a few million—for the $2.1 billion transit system. Said O.(for Oscar) Roy Chalk, 51, able admiral of D.C. Transit System, the national capital's surface lines: "I'd like to prove that private enterprise, with $1,...

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