Why America overpays for bridges, highways, transit, and other transportation infrastructure

American taxpayers are getting a terrible deal when it comes to large government-sponsored infrastructure projects. We pay 2 or 3 times as much for them as we should in many cases. The result is that we are put to shame by many other nations when it comes to building the highways and other transportation facilities we need to remain competitive. Consider bridges, for example. Compare the Millau Viaduct in France, a one and a half mile long cable stay bridge over the Tarn River Valley in France, completed in 2004 at a cost about $483 million dollars (at the 2004 dollar/euro exchange rate), with the 2.2 mile long Eastern Span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, completed in 2013 at a cost of $6.4 billion dollars. Even allowing for inflation, for the fact that the Bay Bridge is more than twice as wide and constructed over water, the cost comparison is starling. Ryan Cooper, writing in The Week, explains at least a good part of the bad bargain we are getting. In sum,...(Read Full Post)