Risk in public works projects

The decision to put the Transit Tax (Increase) Referendum on the ballot should not proceed without fully considering the accuracy of both the cost estimates and the demand forecasts. 

There are two short, yet definitive articles from the Journal of the American Planning Association:
“Understanding Costs in Public Work Projects – Error or Lie?” and
“How (In)Accurate Are Demand Forecasts in Public Works Projects?” 

The conclusions are:

1. The cost estimates used to decide whether rail projects should be built are highly and systematically misleading.

2. For 9 out of 10 rail projects, passenger forecasts are overestimated, often by more than 100%. 

Any so-called public education program from The County regarding especially the benefits of light rail must also include a thorough analysis of the potential financial risks involved.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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