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The author is not right about the final cost of the Line 9 in Barcelona. It is a financial disaster x5 times more expensive than projected, twice expensive the high speed connection between Madrid and Barcelona! http://www.libremercado.com/2015-06-12/escandalo-la-linea-9-...



That Libre Mercado story is from 2015, when the line was still incomplete. It says "the final costs may reach $16.6B", but doesn't mention how much has already been spent or how realistic that upper-bound estimate was.

The OP article is from 2017, and likely has more up-to-date numbers (they claim a final construction cost of $6.9B). It is true that there were major cost overruns with Barcelona's Line 9, but not to the degree the Libre Mercado article implies.

More generally, readers using the Libre Mercado article as a source should be aware that Spanish media is extremely polarized on the question of Catalan independence, far more so even than current US media polarization. The Libre Mercado article is a product of that environment and reads as a hit piece on the pro-independence Catalan leadership.

On a personal note, I'm back in the US now but I used to live on a Barcelona L9 stop and the line is really nice. Fast, quiet, frequent service, ergonomic station design—OP is right, more cities should be copying it.


Some notes: - Libremercado quotes an openly pro-indepence as the main source: https://www.elcritic.cat/

- there is only 24 out 39 stations in nov-2019. The projections of my source are for the full line, when L9 north and south should connect.

- they ran out of money and finally they found an investor with another €750M. https://www.lavanguardia.com/local/barcelona/20180823/451412...

https://www.expansion.com/catalunya/2019/10/04/5d966291468ae...

May be it’s a great engineering achievement, but please don’t take it as an example of financial execution.


From the article:

> Another issue of the Barcelona Line 9, is actually cost.

> The Initial estimates for the Barcelona Line 9 pegged the cost at around 2 billion Euros (3 billion CAD), but actual construction cost turned out to be 6.927 billion Euros (10.3 billion CAD). Per kilometre, that’s 145 million Euros (216 million CAD).


Where is that money? Was it lost to corruption, mismanagement or incompetence?


Time. Time multiplies costs. Time is the destroyer of worlds. Mismanagement and corruption can burn time, but in general I think much bigger factors are regulation, which requires coordination among distant, unmotivated entities, difficult even with good project management; and 2) inevitable bureaucratic and democratic squabbles that continually impose new hurdles and regularly move the goal posts.

Also consider inflation. If a project is 5 or 10 years late, simple inflation can blow up reported budgets by large fractions. When people report that California High Speed Rail will end up costing $100 billion, like 30-40% of that is simply counting inflation-adjusted costs at the time of expenditure for the extended timelines. But most people think that's $100 billion in today's dollars.

My rule as a voter is that once a project is approved, I'll vote against or oppose any modification to the project, even if I didn't want the project or would really like the modification. I realize there are often rational reasons for modifications, but in public works the risk of burning too much time is simply too high. No project will be perfect; just get it done, already. If it made sense in year 1 when approved, it should make as much sense in year 20, otherwise it should never have begun.


Probably all of them. We tend to think corruption first because the guy that was highest authority in the region for decades (and the capo of independentists mafia) is charged with accusations of a massive and systemic institutional corruption, that extracted 3% of every public contract.

The guy has been found to hold foreign accounts with astronomical amounts. That's not even controversial, he's more or less confessed, but he's not jailed yet after years of investigation and mountains of evidence.

Still that's not 3%, but multiple 100%'s.


It Montreal, it will cost more... the corruption is more than 3% either...




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