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Fancy Stations and Other Reasons US Transit is So Expensive

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Like many of us, Bloomberg wonders why new subway lines in LA and New York are often astronomically priced, while Spain and China can build a similar project for a lot less money (They mention bloated projects like NYC's Second Avenue Subway and San Fran's Central Subway and add that, "Los Angeles's planned subway to the sea will be a bit cheaper, but is still very expensive considering the area's lack of density." Guess Wilshire Boulevard is a quiet byway; also, the train isn't going to the sea.) Aside from the heavy judicial review allowed infrastructure projects in this country, which adds cost, America spends too much money on glamming up its train lines and stations, says Bloomberg--a new Santiago Calatrava-designed subway stop in Manhattan will cost nearly $4 billion. Planners for LA's Regional Connector subway line in DTLA are trying to simplify the designs (see image) for their three stations, though they will include relatively elaborate street-level plazas. Another problem: too many consultants and analysts, who have their own consultants and analysts. The CEO for Madrid's transit agency says they would never do anything like what the California High-Speed Rail Authority is doing with Parsons Brinckerhoff, an agency that is not only designing the line, but also acting as project managers; they'll also likely build the project. Even though Parsons has a good track record with big projects, should they stumble, it could make an expensive project even more costly.
· U.S. Taxpayers Are Gouged on Mass Transit Costs [Bloomberg]