74, your point about union wages and the Davis-Bacon is well taken, but it’s only a small part of the cost, and doesn’t explain the almost inevitable delays. The annual budgetary reports that governments put out is only part of the story. Governments rarely show their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, which show, not only tax revenues versus expenditures, but the value of their investments, and profits therefrom, which usually far outweigh the budgetary $$. When the money for some project is budgeted, they first invest it to make a profit, then eventually spend it, after it has replaced itself, but don’t have to report the investment holdings or income in the budgetary report. Over time, they become very wealthy, but almost never spend the investments, nor report them to the public.
Walter Burien has written a far better explanation of how the governments could pay for many of the things they do, but prefer to tax us, to keep us “in our place.”
“The original cost of the Tappan Zee $81 million. The projected cost of the new bridge $3.9 billion maybe, or maybe 5 6 7. Who knows.” – Brulen
If they’re like the grabbyments in Taxifornia, the’y’ll find ways to boost the cost (like making it some kind of “artistic”showpiece monument to themselves), it’ll take far longer than they predict/promise, and cost ~10x the initial estimates. After the ’89 Loma Prieta quake did minor damage to the Bay Bridge, the geniuses decided that the eastern span (between Yera Buena Island and Oakland) needed to be completely replaced, instead of just repaired at an estimated cost of $200M. Initial estimates for simple replacement ranged between $900M and $1.5B, taking 1.5 to 2 years, Well, it (including its “artistic” self-stayed span) finally opened 2Sep2013, costing $6.4B – not counting the ~$10+B cost of intergenerational financing.) The next good shaker will be an interesting test.
Chances are good that if the FRN$ hasn’t already “risen” to its intrinsic value by the time they get ready, the steel parts of it will be shipped in from the lowest bidder in China, installed with slipshod techniques, and assiduously lied about, not to embarrass the honchos who will get paid to look the other way, just like the Bay Bridge “Replacement.” See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_span_replacement_of_the_San_Francisco%E2%80%93Oakland_Bay_Bridge