Sunday, May 08, 2016

Big Dig accounting in Boston

You'd think that Beantown would learn.  The Central Artery project (aka the "Big Dig") was originally supposed to cost $2.8 billion but ended up costing nearly $15 billion.

Today's Boston Globe reports on the MBTA Green Line extension.  Big surprise: sloppy planning and a rush to secure federal funds led to unexpected cost over-runs:
Decades after the project to extend the light rail line into Medford and Somerville was first proposed, Governor Deval Patrick stood alongside Congressman Michael Capuano, US Senator Elizabeth Warren, and other officials to celebrate winning a federal grant that would bring the state nearly $1 billion.

But just seven months later, the project was stopped in its tracks, dogged by newer estimates that showed the project could cost $1 billion more than projected. And on Monday, state transportation officials will receive a report on how to scale back the project dramatically. They will ultimately have to decide whether to proceed with a stripped down plan — or to pull the plug altogether.
It's conservative dogma that a public program paid with taxpayer money never dies, so I don't expect they'll kill this project.  And despite the efforts to proceed with a scaled-down project, I further expect - surprise! - taxpayers across the Bay State will be forced to pay for this latest boondoggle.

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