I don't read the EssEff Comical that much anymore unless I pick it up for free on an airplane or something, but the Wall Street Journal editors are still skimming it. In today's Notable & Quotable section, they republish:
From former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown's column in the San Francisco Chronicle, July 28:
News that the Transbay Terminal is something like $300 million over budget should not come as a shock to anyone.
We always knew the initial estimate was way under the real cost. Just like we never had a real cost for the Central Subway or the Bay Bridge or any other massive construction project. So get off it.
In the world of civic projects, the first budget is really just a down payment. If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved.The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big, there's no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.
So there you have it--right from one of the horses' mouths so to speak. The original estimate of $68 billion for our High Cost Rail system is "just a down payment". No worries...this "hole" is plenty big at 400+ miles deep...I mean long.