A million dollars here, a million there, and pretty soon you’re talking about a real bus stop.
At least, that’s the sticker shock in Arlington County, Virginia, just minutes south of our nation’s capital; a bus stop costs a million bucks.
“Is it made of gold?” asked one commuter.
Others called it “ridiculous,” an “outrage,” and suggested someone get “their butt canned.”
Let us properly note, however, that local transportation officials have unequivocally pronounced this state-of-the-art bus stop “an investment in infrastructure to support the [Columbia] Pike’s renewal.” According to Washington Post reporting, “New and densely developed housing is expected to be built in the next 20 years,” along the highway — not to mention a planned streetcar with a $250 million price-tag.
Think Arlington taxpayers are lazy and wasteful? Well, 80 percent of the money for the bling bus stops came from state and federal taxpayers. And county officials are hoping federal taxpayers will fork over 30 percent of the streetcar project, too.
There are so many exasperating elements to this fiasco that it’d be easy to callously ignore the fact that the million-dollar-bus-stop-shelter, as County Board member Libby Garvey put it, “doesn’t seem to be a shelter.” Calling it “pretty,” she added, “but I was struck by the fact that if it’s pouring rain, I’m going to get wet, and if it’s cold, the wind is going to be blowing on me.”
If you don’t like wasting a million dollars on a shelter that doesn’t provide shelter, chill out; the county is only planning to build another 24 shelters, and at a savings — only a smidgen over $900,000 each.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
P.S. After news reports, lots of folks apparently refused to “chill out” causing Arlington County officials to abruptly suspend plans, for now, to build 24 more million-dollar “Super Stop” bus stops. Hooray!