Insanity in government and business
The Washington Post reports that The governments of Spain and Morocco want to build an underwater tunnel from Cape Malabata, Morocco, to Punta Paloma, Spain. It will run 25 miles under nearly a thousand feet of water, in a “geologically tormented” region. They think they can get it done by 2025, for only “6.5bn through $13bn.”
(Question: what’s with the “.5” when you can’t even narrow it down to a factor of two? )
OK, neat. That’s slightly shorter, but through five times deeper water and much worse geology by far, than the British/French “Chunnel” which ended up costing almost twice as much as the largest estimate for their tunnel, and has bobbled around the bankruptcy point since it was built.
What is it about governments, civic boosters, and other hucksters that they always say; “We’ll do it in less time for half the cost! It’ll make tons of money!” It reminds me of the Simpsons’ “Monorail” episode. I have no problem with the idea of the tunnel. It’ll probably help Africa, help the countries involved, and be one of the great engineering wonders of the world. But stop lying about what it will cost.
This is a universal problem. My little town of Normal, Illinois is restructuring its downtown, and the same thing is happening – we’re building a tunnel to Morocco. No wait, that isn’t it; we’re just buying a lot of land through eminent domain and mismanaging it to grease wealthy companies after the voters said “no” to the whole project. (Project was re-worded and presto! now it’s a different project! Nearby Bloomington did the same thing when voters said “no” to a civic arena.)
The local paper says:
“The $75 million Uptown Normal project outlined by OneMain Development builds on a vision and creates the energy needed to continue Normal’s push into the future.”
Well as long as we’re building on a vision and creating energy, then. Gotta push into the future, y’know. (Oh, they officially changed the name of the area from “downtown Normal” to “Uptown Normal” because it sounded more, well, uptown.)
I think it’s high time that “civic boosterism” be recognized as a mental disease.