The audio and transcript from Matt's conversation with Professor Eric Goldwyn of the Transit Costs Project
Hey guys — just realized that publishing this to the podcast feed required a separate step so I've done that now.
I feel like public choice economists are just like rolling in I told you so here. At least in the descriptive part, not that countries that have better transit options are some theoretical free market oasis but something has gone quite awry here.
Like every topic here seems like a kind of bland technocratic question but the sum of those works out to a lot of concentrated interests of the few winning every discussion and diffuse benefits of the many getting screwed.
If good projects are going un-executed because of borrowing capacity, that just reinforces what I ‘ve though for a long time, the US needs a different way of financing infrastructure. Smaller units should not fail to execute cost effective projects because of borrowing limits and the federal government should not bunch infrastructure spending to magic moments when all the veto points are simultaneously weak enough for an “infrastructure bill to go through. I think an infrastructure bank able to finance hundreds of billions of projects per year is called for. Not only could this get more resources into infrastructure, but the bank would be able to apply proper cost benefit analysis on the projects, demand more discipline on projects, and centralize best practice knowledge.
Wow, crazy that they feel the need to build big underground offices. Above ground seems like a semi-obvious solution to that, right?
Wow, I usually don't like listening to audio discussions, because reading the transcript gives me the same info so much more quickly and with less wasted time.
But this transcription makes reading it just as slow and irritating as listening!
This seems like more evidence that the Democratic Party treats infrastructure projects as jobs programs rather than infrastructure projects.
So the take home seems to be that the weak state and planning bureaucracy in the US gets overrun by other stake holders and contractors and costs balloon?
Transit Costs Project Audio had a banger set last night. Solid NYC Indie band.
Will you upload it as a podcast? Thanks a lot for everything you do.
Oh, this is great, thanks. I'd been hoping to see a transcript.
Put this on the podcast feed! Don't make us click through another time to listen. C'mon!
One possible overarching part of this problem that I think unites a lot of the different individual problems is that "people who went to public policy graduate school" are a very active and important constituency to many of the policymakers. Not fixing these very obvious bureaucratic problems creates lots of makework middle management and project coordination jobs for that demographic.
Please add this audio to the podcast feed that had the curio files.
It’s really hard to listen on substack on a phone, particularly if you aren’t listening to the full hour in one session.
I love the work overall but this should be an easy fix to help improve user experience
Another issue with TBM over cut and cover is that we are using it to make much much deeper stations. Eliminates noise on the surface but it adds a lot to cumulative travel time (it takes a while to get so deep!)
Sorry for a gripey comment, but I really couldn't make it very far into listening to this because the audio quality was so bad. Matt was so quiet/grainy, I had the speaker turned way up, then I was blasted by Eric's loud, but glitchy sound. Was this just me?
The capital cost maintenance discussion was confusing. That's just part of CBA whether to invest more up front to avoid maintenance down the line or not. I guess it is appropriate to build in some risk that maintenance in the future will not be done in a timely manner.