Sunday, October 24, 2010

Delay Is What Will Cause Cost Overruns On Tunnel Project

Today there were a couple of told you so posts here and there about a story in the Seattle Times about the potential for cost overruns on the deep bore tunnel project. Apparently the ride your bicycle or die crowd haven’t ever built or remodeled a house. Because if they had they would learn the reality of the fact that there are always cost overruns when you build anything of scale. Cost overruns are the only real remaining flimsy arrow they have in their quivers and they continue to fire away. As I have said before, this is the definition of a red herring argument. The realistic argument concerning the tunnel should be how to reduce cost overruns as much as possible. What these bloggers are really saying is we don’t want a tunnel no matter what the reasoning. I think it is disingenuous for them to not come out and just say that instead of using the cost overrun ruse.

Compare the cost overruns argument by opponents of the tunnel with the conservatives argument against the health care reform legislation. The right wingers say it will cost to much and then do everything possible to obstruct and sandbag the implementation of the law which in the end makes it more costly, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy . Isn't it the truth really that the health care legislation should actually save money once fully implemented. Like health care reform the tunnel will also have a positive overall effect by creating jobs and commerce if it is built without delay. Opponents won't agree with the analogy but I think it's a reasonable one.

I have posted my position on the tunnel previously. I beleive that we should move forward as quickly as possible with construction of the tunnel based on the almost immediate benefits it would bring the region once construction is underway and when it is completed.


The fact is the overruns that they are making so much noise about this time are directly related to their effort to delay the tunnel, a point that seems to be missing in their reporting. Capitol projects on the scale of the tunnel project are going to have cost overruns people and historically you’d have a hard time finding otherwise if you cared to look. The overruns they speak of in their latest posts are directly related to the State trying to retain constructions teams vying for the massive contract to build it.

Apparently large construction companies only have so much time to waste too, and must be on to building other actual projects. Delaying the project cost money, and standing around doing nothing waiting for the politicos in Seattle to make up their mines delays construction.

But they won’t bring the cost of delaying construction part of the story up because it doesn’t serve the no tunnel crowd’s agenda. So they continue to hammer on the delusional argument that there apparently can't be a dollar of cost overruns for the city if the tunnel is ever built. Mayor McSwhinn and his crowd are like petulant children hoping that even though every other government entity in the state has decided the tunnel is the way to go they hope the delaying will eventually kill the tunnel. They somehow feel they are justified in delaying the project rather then accept the compromise reach by all the other known government entities involved, including the City of Seattle before McSwhinn showed up, after ten years of wrangling and manipulating ad neausum all the other known viable options.

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