Today’s Denver Post reported that RTD was “stunned” to learn that Berkshire Hathaway-owned Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) would require nearly $535 million upfront (or $200 million more for those of you playing along at home) than RTD initially budgeted for the Boondoggle Line from Westminster to Longmont.
For liberals, this would seem to present a tough choice – Team Buffet or Team FasTracks? Berkshire Hathaway, the infamous conglomerate owned by billionaire Warren Buffet, who seizes every opportunity to advocate for the failed policies of Barack Obama, bought a majority stake in BNSF in 2009. The company – in the spirit of capitalism – has to cover costs and eke out a profit, right? But, will liberals be forced to sacrifice their golden calf for capitalism?
As RTD chairman Lee Kemp noted, “[The price difference] was a deal changer.”
According to The Denver Post, “the miscalculation was the latest in a long line of run-ups in estimates that caused the cost of the FasTracks rail-transit plan to catapult from $4.7 billion in 2004 to $7.4 billion today. On the Northwest corridor alone, the cost jumped from $461 million to $1.7 billion.”
Even accounting for inflation, that’s nearly three times the initial cost for the Boondoggle Line.
Kathleen Osher, executive director of Transit Alliance, a coalition that supports public transportation in the Denver Metro area, blames the cost overruns on the economy, saying “the economy was unforeseen and unexperienced [SIC] and developed into the perfect storm.” But, she assures readers the Boondoggle Line will be completed: “It’s a great project, and it will get built,” she said. “The question is whether we’re happy with the timeline.”
The Independent Institute’s leader and funnyman Jon Caldara has proposed his own revised timeline: “If only they could delay the opening to the year 3000. By then, it might move enough people to be cost-effective.”
Given that the price tag seems to double every four years, we’re not sure even Caldara’s hyperbolic timeline would ensure profitability.
(Photo Credit: Complete Colorado)