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CONSTRUCTION KNOWLEDGE BLOG

April 4, 2012

Does Gov Brown Really Make $10B per Hour?
Filed under: Cool Projects — Tags: — nedpelger

If you’ve been following the California high speed rail saga, the proposed project from San Francisco to Los Angeles┬árecently received a revised estimate of $98B US. In 2008 CA voters approved a $9B bond thinking the project cost was $43B.

As I’ve railed about before in these posts, our industry does such a dismal job of projecting costs. Yet what really struck me about this recent ENR article was Gov. Jerry Brown’s involvement. Apparently he told reporters that he spent “several hours” this week on the project and cut the cost from $98B to $68B.

So I figured a $30B project savings accomplished in 3 hours of work yields $10B per hour rate. Now that’s one politician who is not overpaid.

Apparently much of the savings came from not doing high speed rail in the major cities, but just upgrading the existing systems…a mere $1.5B. Which, by the way, is 1,500 packets of one million dollars each.

I know I’m a cheap Dutchman, but how can these numbers possibly make sense? Gravey (my oh-so-smart traffic engineer buddy who works at Bay Area Rapid Transit BART) are you out there? Can you shed any light? Because I’m just not feeling the love on this one.