Puzzling that the story is set to not allow comments.
You're right -- you don't need a $52 billion system; you need to start with the lines that make obviously make sense.
After years of fiddling and diddling, St. Louis and Minneapolis finally actually built lines -- and they're great successes by any rational standard: Fast, cheap, reliable, safe, clean, on-time and good for the environment.
Any idiot should be able to see that nobody ever brings a car with them when they fly in from another city, so the airport line should be first priority. So how many millions of dollars of studies do you so suppose would be required to offset the political influence of the taxicab interests?
It's not a failure of finance. It's a failure of political will.