August 7, 2017

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? America’s Cities Double Down on Trolley Follies.

When the St. Louis Loop Trolley was first proposed, the government estimated that the project would cost $43 million and be open for business by the end of 2016. Since then the project’s costs have ballooned to $51 million, with service tentatively scheduled to start at the end of this year. And the Loop Trolley’s chairman—businessman Joe Edwards—says the project will need another $500,000 from county taxpayers to stay viable.

“A year ago, I saw this as a boondoggle,” St. Louis County Councilman Mark Harder told the St. Louis Dispatch. “Now it’s a boondoggle plus 500 grand.”

These cost overruns and delays are no doubt frustrating for St. Louis taxpayers. But they are hardly unique. A rash of recent streetcar developments have run into these troubles, thanks to faulty economic reasoning and an open faucet of federal dollars.

Wasteful and useless public projects like these almost never die because there are always sufficient opportunities for graft.

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