Re: Cost Overruns....? You missed one.....
Date: 06-07-2021 - 23:29
> Would be interesting to see the list of overruns
> that are already allocated and funded. What the
> story highlights seems to be the unfunded list.
> As a practical matter, every construction project
> has overruns. Sometimes, they can be managed so
> the contingency funds cover them. Usually, they
> exceed the contingencies because 1) they were
> unforeseen (sometimes by just not looking, but
> even on a small scale, a lot of current
> construction budgets are currently being torpedoed
> by skyrocketing material costs, and having a key
> supplier go bankrupt isn't really Caltrain's
> fault), and 2) the contingenciess were limited by
> trying to make the job look cheaper than everybody
> knew it would be. Then, of course, there are the
> ones that have 3) a large component of
> incompetence (looking at HSR). With Caltrain, it
> looks like a combination but more #1 than #2, with
> only a bit of #3.
You left one big reason for cost overruns out. The one that was made famous by the I-105 project cost overruns... And, has now been repeated by tht CAHSRA fiasco, and probably Caltrain... The sponsoring agency simply lies about project costs to make it look better in the approvl processes, (or with voters...) to get initial funding. And, once they got the initional funding, once the 105 project started construction, the cost overruns began almost immediately.
These 105 cost overruns use to come at the expense of local projects awaiting funds. But, Caltran always came with really good "excuses", and in some cases literally were pleading "ignorance" (we forgot to include the 70 million dollar cost of the Vermont interchange in our original estimates, oops "My Bad"...) at the Quarterly funding meeting I attended at LACTC (now MTA) in the late eighties and early nineties. And, every quarter a new bill and new excuses. And, back then, not unlike with the CAHSRA fiasco cost overruns and impact on thing like the US Link project, every quarter dozens of local agency projects were put on hold, some for years, while Caltans sucked the local match pots dry, and then some, as the project came in at nearly 3 times estimated original costs. And, NO, that does not include any of the additional LRT costs.
The only good news is that after that the Legislature gave control of Caltrans project financing over the local CTC's, and no more of the fat Caltrans hog getting first dibs at the trough... Unfortunately, we now see CTC's in many urban areas now neglecting funding for our highway system.... One problem solved, another new onw created....