Monday, December 20, 2010

Small reasons that government drives people crazy

A light rail line going by USC--the Exposition Line--has been under construction for some time now.  For a considerable time, the site featured a sign that said the line would open in 2010.  Now the estimates are that it will open some time in 2011 or 2012.  At the same time, when I walk by the project, I can't say that the workers building it show a great deal of, shall we say, urgency about getting the thing done.

At the same time, I don't hear a lot of people who are upset about how far behind schedule the project is. Maybe this is because no one is planning to take the Expo Line.  Maybe it is because peoople have such low expectations of LA Metro that they are not surprised, and therefore not outraged.  Either way, it suggests a problem.

I continue to believe that we need government to do certain things (rail tunnels under the Hudson and a more modern power grid, for starters) for the economy to perform well.  But when government doesn't perform well, it turns positive NPV projects into negative NPV projects, and it undermines political consensus for the necessity of government.