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November 18, 2004

Big Dig Blues

Son of Nixon on the most expensive public works project in history, now apparently sprining hundreds of dangerous leaks.

And part of the project is named after Rose Kennedy, just to annoy you further.

What does everyone else think about the Big Dig? I'm conflicted. On one hand, I've been bothered for some time that America doesn't seem to do big engineering projects anymore. The Japanese are busy building artificial islands and superlong under-ocean tunnels, and the best we can do is patch up our crappy highway system every other day.

I kinda like the bigness of the thing. The price tag, of course, is something else again.

And of course this thing was sold completely dishonestly, with a ridiculously dishonest "estimated" pricetag of $3 billion or so; now it's up to $15 billion, and it will probably get worse. And that pricetag is inflated by a gold-plated PC style of construction-- lots of work at night, heroic efforts to keep down noise so that no one is in the least inconvenienced by this mammoth undertaking. Yeah, that keeps Teddy K's constituents happy, but if they weren't prepared to deal with the natural consequences of a multibillion dollar construction project, honestly, perhaps we should have just given the whole thing a pass.

It goes without saying that you-- non-Massachusetts citizen you -- are paying for most of this. Your dollars, Teddy K's political credit.

What is most annoying is that this thing was sold so dishonestly, turned out to be so expensive, and could only be built with a billion-dollar citizen-comfort style of construction that I fear it just may be the last major civil engineering project we see for twenty years.

The Kennedy political legacy-- the gift that keeps on giving.

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posted by Ace at 01:41 PM

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