Print 114 comment(s) - last by Indianapolis.. on Apr 14 at 10:20 AM

It expects to build 23 more at over $900,000 a piece

The city of Arlington just recently opened an impressive bus stop with a not-so-impressive price tag of $1 million.
The “super stop” in Arlington, Virginia is unlike any other bus stop. It has a custom designed roof made of glass and steel; a wall of etched glass; heaters in the floor; gorgeous landscaping, and concrete/stainless steel benches.
The bus stop has 10-inch high curbs, 90 feet of concrete and can shelter 15 people at a time while waiting for buses to arrive – all at a cost of $1 million.
The cost comes down to $575,000 for construction/fabrication and $440,000 for construction management and inspections, where federal/state money took care of 80 percent of the total price tag.
When Arlington citizens discovered the cost of the super stop, many were outraged.
“That’s ridiculous,” said Robin Stewart, a citizen who was waiting at the super stop. “From a citizen, from a voter, whoever put that budget through needs to get their butt canned. It’s an outrage.”
The super stop opened on March 11, and 23 more are planned for Arlington’s streetcars. The county has set aside $20.8 million for all of them, which is about $904,000 a piece.
The idea behind the fancy bus stops is to not only accommodate Arlington’s plans for its streetcars and buses (about 16,000 people use the Columbia Pike buses for transportation) but to also draw people to the area. New housing is expected to be built in the area over the next two decades, and the county hopes the bus stops will help it flourish.
“When you do a prototype, you end up heavily front-loading on the costs,” said Dennis Leach, Arlington’s transportation director. “These are more like high-capacity bus or rail stops.”
But citizens are concerned about the budget, saying that Arlington can build nice bus stops without having to spend $1 million.
“Oh my God. How much steel? How much cement? How much glass? One million? Bring them to court,” said Husain Hamid, who was waiting at the super stop. “People are hungry. People are sleeping on the street. It doesn’t need $1 million.”

Source: Washington Post

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By DNAgent on 4/4/2013 10:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
How the hell does a little bit of steel, concrete, and glass cost $1 mil? I was expecting something huge, but...if each stop only holds 15 people, what we can see in the picture above is all of it. There's no way the materials to build that tiny structure even approach the quoted cost...unless there's diamond dust in the concrete.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By muIIet on 4/5/2013 12:31:22 AM , Rating: 2
Would a private company ever do this? NO.

You can always depend on Government, State, Counties to blow money like there is no tomorrow when it comes to tax payer money.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By OCedHrt on 4/5/2013 1:47:00 AM , Rating: 4
You mean the private company contracted by the government to build these bus stops?

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By martin5000 on 4/5/2013 5:41:08 AM , Rating: 4
He means a private company will always try to get the best deal both as the contractee and the contractor.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Souka on 4/5/2013 12:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
steel and concrete didn't cost $1million

"The cost comes down to $575,000 for construction/fabrication

not sure what it cost... but labor is a major part.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By michael67 on 4/6/2013 9:15:11 AM , Rating: 2
As a piping and maintenance supervisor, and even do i do never offers, i do know roughly what things will cost, and i also don't see the price tag.

Ok for the first prototype, i could see a price tag of around 5 to 600.000, the other one's should not cost more then $400.000, it nice looking but some ware thinking, "let take the money and run".

But above all they forgot the first and main thing, in designs like this this, don't compromise on function over design.
As wood or plastic covered benches would be nicer to sit in, also the hole open design is crap when it rains or blows.

All in all i give it a 9 for looks and a 5 for function, and that mainly because the information board is handy.

This cost $550.000 for a double stop, including heated site walk, and information screen and ticket machine.
Build in Norway, country with one of the highest labor cost in the world.

Yeah its not as fancy as the one above, but then it also cost less then a 1/3 and imho is more functional against the weather.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By trats20050 on 4/7/2013 11:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
Electrician here.. It says floor heaters im guessing this are not gas operated but electric heaters.. No matter what company you use this are not cheap to run and requires all kinds of equipment, including controls for automatic heaters and safety controls... This alone must be one quarter of the total price..

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By PrinceGaz on 4/8/2013 8:37:34 AM , Rating: 2
Norway has a very long coastline for its size with lots of fjords (sp?) so they probably get a lot of relatively cheap hydroelectric power.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By lemonadesoda on 4/8/2013 10:05:12 AM , Rating: 2
Did you REALLY just type that? Hydro-power comes from water up a MOUNTAIN driving turbines as it falls, and not from fjords that are at SEA LEVEL.

By ShieTar on 4/8/2013 11:07:16 AM , Rating: 2
Not fully correct, there are also hydro-power stations using the motion of tidal waves. But the lengths of the coastal line is not relevant for those either, because they don't run along the coast, but rather into it.

Irrelevance of Coastal lines aside, Norway does heat absolutely everything electrically, because they do have hydro-power in abundance, and a very low population density. And the construction of the hydro-plants was paid for by their oil-money, so electricity is very cheap in Norway, while the people are filthy rich.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By jihadjoe on 4/6/2013 3:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
Im sure they employed a construction team of PhDs to put up this bus stop. Your tax money has not gone to waste.

By Wilder Napalm on 4/7/2013 6:16:09 PM , Rating: 3
I spent 30 years in transportation engineering and from the pictures I can see a cool million as front end loaded. You must remember on every transportation project there is are planners doing scoping studies a team of design engineers, right of agents buying needed right of way from owners. When property owners want more than appraised value that brings in attorneys.Then Utility agents clearance is needed all this and you can think about letting the project for low bids, that's brings in the program management folks to over see the bidding process. Every person who works on a project charges to the project and there is a cool million and anywhere from 3 to years to have a project.

By pixelslave on 4/8/2013 11:08:37 AM , Rating: 2
He means a private company will always try to get the best deal both as the contractee and the contractor.

Yea. I bet you 1 cent that the private company "that won a bid to build any project" will always try to get the best deal from its sub-contractors and material suppliers -- it just won't past that savings back.

By Indianapolis on 4/14/2013 10:20:49 AM , Rating: 2
Don't be dense. His very obvious point is that when somebody is spending their own money (whether that is private company or an individual), then they don't blow it in such senseless ways. People have a tendency to exercise responsible stewardship over their own money.

But when it's a government agency spending tax money, well, that's a very different story.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Ammohunt on 4/5/2013 11:42:49 AM , Rating: 2
You kidding! my bet is this was Union job and for $900k that was the discount price.

By ven1ger on 4/10/2013 1:55:20 PM , Rating: 3
You're blaming unions for this? Yeah, let's pick on the unions for the high cost of everything, and then when the jobs go overseas and other jobs go to low-paid non-union immigrant labor, let's blame the illegal immigrants for taking away all the jobs.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Amiga500 on 4/5/2013 3:07:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the 15 people bit had my jaw on the floor.

I was thinking "typo" - surely they mean 150 people. But, the photo would suggest not.

I could build you a 15 person bus shelter for <£1K (actually, much nearer £500) considering materials only. OK, it wouldn't look like much, but it would do the job.

£1K.... vs. $658K. Quite a difference to justify.

By StevoLincolnite on 4/5/2013 6:14:20 AM , Rating: 4
In my small town, we had run-down trashy looking bus stops.
The schools eventually got involved with the art student's and "artsied" them up and they actually look rather nice.
A few years later they attacked all of the towns telephone poles and made them look nice, rather than just having them as boring steel and concrete.
Some were painted, some had sculptures plastered on, some covered in sea-shells etc'.

And the cost? Almost nothing considering that the labor was free and the students got to do something creative.
The only cost was the materials which the school covered, so it couldn't have been to elaborate.

Why don't more places do things like that rather than waste millions/billions of the peoples money?

By FITCamaro on 4/5/2013 7:15:47 AM , Rating: 5
Someone's brother wouldn't get a new lake house then.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By steedsrva87 on 4/5/2013 9:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone is given a budget, and if you don't spend that money you get less the next time around. I agree with a lot of people that this is bull (there are a lot more places in arlington where the money could have gone), but i can also see the other side. Maybe they had 20mil left in their budget, saw that bus stops needed work, and decided "hey, lets make it so an executive would want to stand there"

I will say this, if they have heaters built in, talk about additional costs to the area for electricity. Not to mention that the homeless will stake out these stops to stay each night to stay warm. So all of a sudden your nice bus stop may not look so nice.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Iketh on 4/6/2013 5:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure they have the sense to turn off the heaters after the last bus each night...

By Netscorer on 4/8/2013 8:46:16 AM , Rating: 2
I think heaters only cover the pavement to prevent icing. To heat the entire stop you need to put radiators in the walls and under benches - doable but not done in this case judging by the pictures.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By dgingerich on 4/5/2013 8:30:10 AM , Rating: 5
Denver spent $1.5mil on a park and ride stop near my current apartment. Here's what they got:
1. 184 parking spaces
2. 8 bus stop shelters where up to 10 people at a time can wait, sheltered from rain
3. 4 electronic ticket dispensers for the nearby light rail station

Granted, the shelters aren't made of stainless steel and aren't as modern or special looking, but they do the job better because they actually have sides to keep out the wind. In addition, they're arranged in a loop to allow for up to 8 buses to load and unload at a time.

The $1.5mil does not include the tunnel under I-25 to the light rail station or the light rail station itself, but it did include land costs. The tunnel and light rail station cost about ten times as much as the park and ride area.

Seriously, someone needs to learn to manage money better.

By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 12:04:41 PM , Rating: 2
Ha, I've been saying that for years but the government is very inefficient in managing money. It's not that they can't, it's just too much politics and bureaucracy.

Everyone who lives here knows everything cost money and if the government does it then it cost even more. But the thing is that money goes back into economy. While a lot of these corporations are more efficient, they are sending that money overseas. You just can't have it all.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Strunf on 4/5/2013 7:34:12 AM , Rating: 2
Stainless Steel and glass aren't that cheap, not when you use thick and long panels... the problem here is really the choice of materials, you could make something that would look just as good if not better out of concrete for a fraction of the cost.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Keeir on 4/5/2013 11:52:31 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the engineering to make sure that glass doesn't break when its 50+ mph winds and pouring down rain or there is 3' of snow and its 5 degree outside.

It probably would have been cheaper just to make a full enclosure with a door than this glass sail.

By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 12:07:35 PM , Rating: 2
Having used full enclosed bus stops before, it is a bad idea in general.

Graffiti, cleanliness, smelly people, smokers, homeless people, etc...

By mindless1 on 4/12/2013 12:11:03 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt the engineering was all that great, they already have standards for the amount of stress a piece of glass or polycarb of a given thickness can withstand. When all else fails just copy that portion of the design from another bus stop. That'll cost you a plane ticket if it isn't in the same city, maybe lunch too.

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2013 7:30:55 PM , Rating: 1
Our tax dollars at work!!!

"Infrastructure" budgets like roads and mass transit are the biggest slush funds in this country. Seriously, fact, look it up people.

Money goes in, a project is approved that should cost a quarter of what it does, and where the money goes....well...nobody knows!

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Cheraphy on 4/6/2013 9:47:30 AM , Rating: 4
Clearly you've never looked into our military's budget :P

RE: There's a bloated contractor somewhere...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/13, Rating: 0
By blistering_blather on 4/7/2013 8:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
YES YES YES! This area is in a perpetual state of construction because apparently there are too many people who need jobs and aren't able to do anything else. Please, please, please people - pay better attention in Math class!

By GotThumbs on 4/6/2013 9:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
Troll much?

By duncer on 4/7/2013 3:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
You can bet this cost will not be counted as part of the bus service. The services all lose money so they have to be very creative in accounting for costs.

By sobr0801 on 4/8/2013 12:08:29 AM , Rating: 2

Well if it cost up to 1.5 million to lay a slab of cement, I guess we can pay this much for a bus stop?

By lemonadesoda on 4/8/2013 10:03:28 AM , Rating: 2
Someone somewhere is "tunneling" the money from the State pocket into a private company and then back into some State representatives pocket. Anti-corruption squad needs to get into that project immediately. Heads should roll.

This did not go out to proper tender.

Not surprising honestly
By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 8:30:31 AM , Rating: 1
I live in Arlington and not even the busy parts where these bus stops will be. Even in my area, looking at the homes for rent, a decent size townhouse with 1 garge starts at $950k and it was sold out before it was finished building. You also get 0 land for a back or front yard.
I still think 904k is overpriced but considering it is in the zone of prime real estate then it doesn't seem that unreasonable. The bus stop actually can hold more like 50 people and it does so everyday at commuting hours.
The cost of 1 day of crane service and closing down one lane of the street in a residential area is $15k a day. In a busy main street, it would cost much more.
Also renting a small 1 bedroom apartment for $2k is considered cheap. A new spacious modern 1 bedroom apartment will cost ~$4k and i know a few friends renting them. It's not really overpriced considering everything is overpriced.

The only thing you should be surprised is even if you make 6 figures here, you will most likely still be riding public transportation lol.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By blackseed on 4/5/2013 8:52:00 AM , Rating: 3
"The cost comes down to $575,000 for construction/fabrication and $440,000 for construction management and inspections, where federal/state money took care of 80 percent of the total price tag."

It is not the city that is paying for the majority of the cost, it is federal/state money. And you have cities across US going bankrupt.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 11:45:11 AM , Rating: 5
Considering that Arlington is where the Pentagon and a ton of contracting companies are, you are talking about a very large portion of the job market in Northern Virginia. They are not doing this for people living in Arlington, they are doing this for everyone who works in Arlington. Arlington also uses mostly skilled labor which has a much higher average pay.

Anyone who lives in the DC, Maryland and Virginia(DMV) area can tell you how bad traffic is. The fact that it takes you 1.5 hrs to drive 8 miles to work in the morning or going home is ridiculous. Taking the bus/metro will usually lower your commute to 45mins.

If anything you could say that Arlington is one of the reasons that keeps parts of DC, Maryland and Virginia alive. So $23 mil may be a lot of money, it is pocket change compared to what Arlington contributed through income tax. I live in Fairfax and most of my roommates and friends work in Arlington or near there. They all make over 100k to give you an idea of salaries.

The whole point of this is to increase public transportation to increase productivity and bring in even more jobs. At this point, they are paying for the R & D, custom parts, and initial high cost of this project. Eventually, they will use it for the rest of Northern Virginia, DC and some of Maryland. Initial cost are always high. Breaking ground in any part of an expensive high traffic city will always cost money.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 11:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
correction, I lived in Fairfax. Recently moved to Arlington.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By Spuke on 4/5/2013 1:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not appalled by the prices at all honestly. Your public transportation system is excellent and used by tons of people. I've used it myself when visiting my dad. Timely, clean, and quick is how I would describe it.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/13, Rating: 0
RE: Not surprising honestly
By BRB29 on 4/8/2013 8:25:08 AM , Rating: 3

If you've ever actually been to Arlington, you will realize that the public transportation is used by everyone regardless of color or wealth.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By ven1ger on 4/10/2013 2:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
He probably meant that you won't find $1 million bus stops in areas which are comprised of minorities or non-affluent neighborhoods.

This kind of spending is reserved for the more affluent neighborhoods which usually comprise of a more white majority. And generally of course you may find that the politicians that control where those monies are spent are dominated by the more affluent white majority. And you'.. probably find that the companies contracted to do the work may also have contributed to the fund-raising campaigns of the same politicians.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By Spuke on 4/11/2013 4:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
He probably meant that you won't find $1 million bus stops in areas which are comprised of minorities or non-affluent neighborhoods.
Irrelevant. My dad lives in Landover which by all accounts is the ghetto. The public transport is as quick and timely there as it is in Arlington. Generally, I'm not in favor of PT because "no one" uses it and it's VERY expensive but there are some areas where it really works well AND people use it. I was truly impressed by it. Out in LA they've been flushing money down the toilet on PT for years and they want to flush even more. Waste of money because "no one" is interested in it. LA residents would be better served with that money going to improving the methods of travel that they prefer to use (cars).

RE: Not surprising honestly
By Xando on 4/7/2013 1:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
You are part of the problem. It's guys like you who think our dear leaders in Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria are such good guys who keep electing them. And they keep 1) pushing for more and more transportation money and 2) wasting it on projects that mostly benefit their friends. Wake up, vote the bums out! They are corrupt!

RE: Not surprising honestly
By blistering_blather on 4/7/2013 8:13:12 PM , Rating: 2
Mostly it's because the leaders aren't creative enough to foster growth of other more substantial types of jobs, like manufacturing. It's much easier to create bureaucracies for the approval and validation of construction projects. Plus, you don't have to invest in serious job skill training, just the ability to operate a backhoe (or stand around and watch someone else operate it.)

RE: Not surprising honestly
By BRB29 on 4/9/2013 8:01:56 AM , Rating: 2
No that's not true at all. There's a lot of approval for anyone to dig up and mess with electric grid and telecommunications network. One of the approvals is from the FBI. I'm sure you can think of a lot of reasons why they need so many approvals.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By M'n'M on 4/5/2013 3:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
"The cost comes down to $575,000 for construction/fabrication and $440,000 for construction management and inspections, where federal/state money took care of 80 percent of the total price tag."

And this is why it costs so much. Because it's OPM, the local people putting out the bids didn't really care about the $$s. It's not like it was coming out of their pockets. The person approving the costs back in DC no doubt has more that a few other projects going and probably all more $$s and higher visibility than this. He probably has no idea of the true scope of the project. So what should be an obvious red flag gets by because it's lost in the mud of other bigger $$ expenditures. A small scale example of Boston's Big Dig.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By BRB29 on 4/9/2013 8:04:16 AM , Rating: 2
You don't know how contracting and bidding process work. It is certain not done by OPM. OPM is Office of Personnel Management. They handle matters pertaining federal employees....not bus stop constructions.

RE: Not surprising honestly
By Spuke on 4/11/2013 4:18:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think he means "Other Peoples Money".

By Josh7289 on 4/5/2013 12:03:40 AM , Rating: 4
And what does this have to do with tech?

RE: Relevance
By MadMan007 on 4/5/2013 1:38:54 AM , Rating: 4
Nothing, but Tiffany is learning well from Mick and posting politically-oriented stories that might draw lots of page views.

RE: Relevance
By poohbear on 4/5/2013 2:59:55 AM , Rating: 1
yea i'm afraid that's what's happening. what on earth DOES this have to do with Tech?? Is anandtech that desperate for page views???

RE: Relevance
By Crazyeyeskillah on 4/5/2013 11:20:06 AM , Rating: 2
are you even aware that anandtech and dailytech are 2 different websites run by two different people? Dailytech just has their newsfeeds on the side of anandtechs frontpage since forever. I actually go to the anandtech webpage because it's easiest to navigate the new dailytech stories, have done so for about 15 years.

RE: Relevance
By mindless1 on 4/12/2013 12:19:23 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting, considering the site has only been around for little more than half that.

RE: Relevance
By Schadenfroh on 4/6/2013 5:12:40 PM , Rating: 3
Obviously, you have not tried Arlington's advanced bus stops, even the old ones have consoles where you can track when the bus will arrive using the GPS trackers on the bus.

By Integral9 on 4/5/2013 8:05:49 AM , Rating: 2
Not surprised. Arlington has a huge tax base. Arlington is a fully developed county, meaning practically all the land is occupied by businesses and residents. What's not occupied is either undevelopable or dedicated park land. It's the closest county in VA to DC. In 2008 the median price of a house was over $500,000 and 10% of all the single family homes were worth over $1,000,000 (many of which struggle to reach even 3000 sqft or even a full acre). It has not seen a decline in housing prices since the economy dropped. In 2011, the median annual household income in Arlington is over $100,000; only surpassed by it's neighbors of Fairfax and Loudoun, which were the top 3 in the US. ( In addition to that, the county is only 26 sq miles, making it one of the smallest counties in the US.

Huge tax base + itty bitty foot print = lots of money to spend in a small area.

RE: Arlington
By DockScience on 4/5/2013 2:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
And let's not forget that there are ZERO Republicans on the Arlington council, it's a blue as blue can get.

RE: Arlington
By Schadenfroh on 4/5/2013 4:42:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, thankfully, the state government is strong enough to prevent them from enacting too much foolishness (e.g. a county income tax, gun bans, etc).

<-- Arlington resident

BTW, thanks folks outside the beltway for paying for 80% of the costs for this, say what you will about the lefties running Arlington, but they know how to siphon $$$ from the rest of the country.

RE: Arlington
By Xando on 4/7/2013 2:01:24 PM , Rating: 2
BUT: They're not spending their money on it. They're getting the feds to finance 80% of it, and the new state wide transportation tax hikes to finance much of the rest. AND: all of it will do very little to relieve the traffic problem in NoVA.

One of the best traffic mitigation plans to come along was expanding the lanes on I-95 south down through Stafford. From Springfield to Fredricksburg has become one the biggest bottlenecks on the whole Mid-Atlantic corridor.

Who do you think has been opposing this measure, putting up committee roadblocks left and right, seeking to steer these monies to their pet "Smart Growth" projects such as their damn streetcar line? Who, but Arlington County?

RE: Arlington
By BRB29 on 4/8/2013 9:57:43 AM , Rating: 2
Are you crazy?

The fact that DC area is rated top 10 worst traffic in the nation every single year for decades should already tell you you're wrong. I still have not seen Fredericksburg in there. In fact DC has won #1 worst traffic more than any other city in the nation.

Traffic From Springfield to Fredericksburg is heaven compared to traffic in Arlington and its surrounding cities.

A general rule
By half_duplex on 4/5/2013 9:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
When it comes to government doing ANYTHING, regardless if it's launching a shuttle or building a covered bench, the cost will be 5 to 25 times higher than if it were privately build.

This absurd amount probably doesn't even cover the land that they probably already owned.

I've seen $200,000 houses with twice as much to offer.

What a joke.

RE: A general rule
By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 12:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
that's an over-exaggeration but maybe a 50% increase in price simply because of the contract bidding system.

I know there are $100k houses out there that are better than the $900k townhomes being sold here. The fact is, this is deep inside the city where salary is extremely high. Everything cost more in the city including gas. A beer is $8 standard at most bars/clubs. Go to CVS and pay $9 for small bottle of eye drops. I took my GF out for lunch and it cost $36 for 2 bowls of noodles + a coffee. That didn't even include the $20 i had to pay to park my car and still have to walk a block.

RE: A general rule
By half_duplex on 4/8/2013 11:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
The reason things in the city cost more is largely due to the higher cost of land, higher taxes, regulations, higher salaries, etc.

In this instance, I don't think any of those are factors besides the higher salaries paid to the union workers who assembled the bus stop.

The article suggests the high cost is due to the material.

You can nearly build a McDonalds for what they spent. More material is needed for just the McDonalds kitchen than required for this 15 person pavilion.

I have been in the construction-engineering industry. I would not be surprised if that same facility could be built for $100,000 if managed properly.

RE: A general rule
By omgwtf8888 on 4/5/2013 12:47:49 PM , Rating: 3
This is not all on the shoulders of the government. The government bids the job out to a private contractor(s). The tax dollars for this project are leaving the government and going directly into private contractors. Long ago private interests found that by contracting out government services there was a huge profit to be made. Paid off politicians hamstinged the government agencies built to monitor these contracts. There are large numbers of Government administrative employees working hard to do all they can to reign in costs and stop corruption. So interestingly enough the culprits are the "private businesses" paying bribes (in the form of campaign contributions) and their co-horts in the Congress and Whitehouse. I personally fail to see how these quid pro quo contributions do not run afoul of the federal corruption act. Oh wait... the pols have control of the U.S Attorney's office.

By DaveLessnau on 4/4/2013 10:49:32 PM , Rating: 2
If I'm doing this right and if Zillow is to be believed, the average house price in Arlington, VA is about half a million dollars. So, these fine examples of humanity just spent enough to buy two houses for a bus stop consisting of an open strip of concrete, an open (covered) shelter, and a couple of steel benches. Whose brother-in-law got that contract?

RE: sigh
By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 11:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
that's not true at all unless you consider condos, apartments, half town homes....houses.

People don't know the cost of living in the city. Any new home in Arlington will easily cost over $1mil and it's only 2-3000 sq ft with a few feet of land around it.

RE: sigh
By Pneumothorax on 4/9/2013 4:10:35 PM , Rating: 2
Where the heck is all the money/industry coming from to justify the real estate? Must be all the Lobbyists (Prostitutes) that service the congress critters and keep our political machine going.

RE: sigh
By aliasfox on 4/5/2013 2:53:50 PM , Rating: 2
I lived in Arlington until 2011 and even then, a one bedroom condo would run ~$500-600k with a parking spot (Ballston, three blocks from either Virginia Square or Ballston metro stops). When I left, my 1BR apartment (with balcony, gym, underground parking, and washer/dryer) was $1600/month - the building's website now lists the same kind of unit for $1800.

$600k for a bus stop is perhaps high, but developing street-level public transit along Columbia Pike (where there isn't a metro line) seems pretty logical. It would likely also help raise property values in some of those areas.

$400k for 'inspections' seems out of line though...

Construction wasn't $1m
By KaChow on 4/5/2013 7:51:03 AM , Rating: 1
Actually, the article does state that the construction cost was only $575k while the bribes and kickbacks were an additional $440k.

RE: Construction wasn't $1m
By FaaR on 4/5/2013 11:23:11 AM , Rating: 2
You know, I was asking myself how many damn inspections does a bus stop really need. While I honestly don't really know the answer to that because I'm not a building/construction engineer or such, I'm still pretty sure it's not $440k's worth of 'em.

These bus stops are a joke, and why are there heaters installed in them when there aren't even any side walls on that rain shelter? It's a complete waste. I live in a country with sub-arctic winter conditions and nobody has ever even heard of heated bus stops. If anyone was to suggest it, people would just laugh. Wear clothes suited for the weather, chrissakes!

RE: Construction wasn't $1m
By Spuke on 4/5/2013 1:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
Given the average income of that area (aka taxable income), I'd want a heated bus stop too. IMO, it's not outrageous at all. For once, I don't have a problem with the pricetag of these bus stops.

RE: Construction wasn't $1m
By BRB29 on 4/9/2013 8:07:35 AM , Rating: 2
My gf and I pay about $75k in income tax alone a year. With that much money, I'd expect free bags of peanuts while I wait for the bus or train.

Virginia Homeless Get New Million Dollar Home
By NesuD on 4/5/2013 7:24:10 AM , Rating: 4
Can't wait to see the pictures bus stop's new occupants All snug in their newspapers sprawled out on the benches every nite.

By BRB29 on 4/8/2013 8:29:10 AM , Rating: 2
That's everywhere in every city. Hell, I've seen way more bums living it up in South Beach Miami than here in DC. They get to enjoy the nice weather, beautiful beach, hot chics(sometimes naked) all year long. They also get a ton more money because people are on vacation and much more likely to throw them a couple bucks.

I can save them millions
By spamreader1 on 4/8/2013 12:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
My company will build them 2 long wooden benches that hold 8 people each at a cost $500.00 each. yes that's right folks only $1000 to seat 16 people. Right next to the bus stop we recommend having an umbrella salesman in case of rain.

RE: I can save them millions
By BRB29 on 4/8/2013 1:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
what? did you even read the article?
they designed and built a bus stop. They didn't just put benches there.
Just that small patch of land in Arlington is probably worth over 300k itself.

Paying for architects, custom fabrications, traffic holds, HE, engineers, electricians, construction workers, etc...
they even have to build a patch of road to the side so the bus can stop there without blocking traffic. All of this in a busy city almost comparable to NYC is expensive. Not to mention it has a higher avg income than most parts of NY

RE: I can save them millions
By spamreader1 on 4/8/2013 4:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
Sarcasm meter missing today eh?

big deal.
By TSS on 4/4/2013 10:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
Where there any protests? Anybody outside city hall? Public demands for prosecution?

No? Then shut up and enjoy your busstop. This isn't the first stupid overexpenditature that's happened by far. So untill people start getting off their asses to do something about it, there's little point is commenting on something....

... well i doubt anybody has the right words for it anyway. I'm pretty sure you can read this article to crazy people in asylum and they'll be cured, because relatively speaking even they aren't this crazy.

RE: big deal.
By Omega215D on 4/5/2013 12:46:38 AM , Rating: 2
those heated stops would do great in NYC, provided they are powered by waste heat or solar. The concrete steel and glass can already be found in NYC bus stops... and curbs are practically everywhere.

Not so super
By omgwtf8888 on 4/5/2013 11:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
I thought that when i clicked on this article I was going to read some amazing tech piece about bus stop that recharged electric busses. It appears that the the only thing getting juiced are all of us (federal $$ at play here). I love how the cost to build it was roughly 50% the other half was inspections and management. HELLO!!! U.S. Attorney! Please send some of those nice chaps from the F.B.I. over to have a look at the use of Federal Dollars.

RE: Not so super
By omgwtf8888 on 4/5/2013 11:55:20 AM , Rating: 2
Typical and Disgusting
By Xando on 4/7/2013 1:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
I expect no less from the Arlington City Council than corruption and mismanagement. Transportation issues are a particular source of skullduggery. Transport is a hot issue in northern Virginia, and it has been for all of the 23 years I've lived here. It is the number one reason they raise taxes on us, as they did yet again this year when Virginia instituted the largest tax increase in its history citing transportation woes. The second largest tax increase in Virginia history happened only a few years before, again citing transportation woes. And, sure enough, after these taxes go through here comes Arlington announcing plans for million dollar bustops and (incredibly) new streetcar lines. Neither of these measures will do much to affect the traffic woes in Arlington, so after all this is done they'll still be a ready made need to call for more taxes, citing transportation woes.

Note how they got 80% of their money from the feds, too. Federal and "private-public" monies are how everything is now done around here. They are determined to spend as little as they can of their new tax monies on transportation itself. And, see the $400,000+ charges from the million dollar bustop going to "management, licensing and permitting". It's pure, simple, naked, indefensible graft.

Northern Virginians would be wise to send all of its incumbents out of office pronto. Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria --- ALL of these players are corrupt weasels.

RE: Typical and Disgusting
By Xando on 4/7/2013 2:17:44 PM , Rating: 2
Let me tell you how they rebuilt an existing road nearby in Alexandria. It's next door to Arlington, and they do things the same way pretty much. In fact, Alexandria is arguably a little more corrupt than Arlington. First they tore up the old road and re-graded much of the landscape, putting in new "green" run-off abatement measures around the two creeks that ran near the road. Then rebuilt the road. Only then did some inspector from the city come by and decide he didn't like the new drainage scheme, so they did it all over again, from scratch. The whole process took over a year, during that time all of us unfortunate enough to have to drive on it were amazingly inconvenienced. Luckily, we're only talking about one mile of road. Maybe a mile and a half. And, it kept a lot of Mexicans in the dough for a while, too. Total bill to taxpayers: ~$10 million. One. Mile. Of. Road.

Oh, then they decided to put in new traffic lights at the end of it, even though the old ones still worked fine. In fact, they worked better if you ask me since they also redrew the traffic pattern at the intersection for the worse while they were at it. Total bill for new traffic lights: $100,000, with probably another $100,00 on top for engineering and permitting fees necessary to redo the traffic pattern in a more screwed up way.

That's how they do things in NoVA. Come by someday, and I'll show you the new $10,000 stop sign they put in my community. It's not at any intersection!

A Bloated Contractor for sure!
By Kim P on 4/7/2013 2:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, I am a general contractor in the state of WI. Most new construction projects have a Management/Inspection fee of around 10-20% depending on complexity. When they say "Management/Inspection" that is literally it - the costs of labor to construct, fabricate parts/engineer the design and so on would all be part of the $550k discussed. Someone got paid almost as much as the materials/labor cost just to supervise the construction. That is ridiculous. Also, someone said that "maybe they had $20mil left in their budget" - you know what...that is not THEIR money to spend willy nilly. It is your money (the state part) and my money (the fed part) GIVE IT BACK!

By blistering_blather on 4/7/2013 8:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you - as I said elsewhere, the jacked-up management/inspection costs are partially a function of the bloated bureaucratic culture of this place.

By mrwassman on 4/5/2013 12:36:24 AM , Rating: 2
Silicon and Iron are in the top 3 most abundant materials on earth. This is depressing.

By BZDTemp on 4/5/2013 4:14:59 AM , Rating: 2
Instead there is info screens telling when the Bus is gonna arrive and it's based on live GPS data, so if there is a delay you know exactly how long you need to wait.

bed & bus stops
By judge knot on 4/5/2013 5:24:02 AM , Rating: 2
A heated bus stop that can also house 3 families or ten homeless veterans is a good value . Please add a washroom, and comfortable pads to sleep on, Uncle Sam!

By darcotech on 4/5/2013 6:11:23 AM , Rating: 2
Here in Geneva,Switzerland, it is kind a mandatory to have structures like this and on places where is windy, a closed shelter is installed.

Display are showing what's coming next 30 mins (all buses, trams have electronics so you know exactly where it is).

And Geneva is very expensive (an house is more than 1 million, no kidding) but there is no way this kind of structures come even close to 1 million. So, somebody just pocket in nice "bonus"!

By Fidget on 4/5/2013 11:49:37 AM , Rating: 2
The conspicuous consumption yuppie capital of the world spent a million dollars on a bus stop. Get out of here!

Good News!
By laviathan05 on 4/5/2013 2:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
Only ~500,000 bus fares left to cover the cost of the first station!

By GotThumbs on 4/6/2013 9:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
If they build more of these....Then this city is chock full of suckers getting from the rear.

It's simply a disgusting abuse of citizens taxes and there should be a huge mob at the mayors/city councils office on Monday.

By Jasonn13 on 4/7/2013 12:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
How much does it cost to build and maintain a REGULAR bus stop shelter, one that will just protect the riders from wind and rain and allow them to sit down while waiting? What bonehead politician decided that the $900K ones were a good idea and why? When are they up for reelection?

Business as usual...
By JoeThePimpernel on 4/7/2013 1:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
...for the big-government/big-corporate criminal complex.

Bus stops
By Azlecitizen on 4/7/2013 2:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously, VA is NOT one of the states facing bankruptcy. Of course at the rate they're spending other peoples money, it shouldn't take them long to reach that lofty goal!

By Richard_FL on 4/7/2013 2:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
This is merely a microcosim of what is wrong with our country. WE ARE BROKE and yet someone feels this is a good expenditure of tax payers hard earned dollars!!

First the cost is absurd, but then on top of that to pay some firm almost the same cost as construction management fees is an even bigger travesty.

I agree with others, that anyone that had anything to do with this folly should be canned, including the design firm, the construction managers, and the idiots that conceived and approved this waste of tax dollars.

That is just the creep of the out of control spending that is all too prevelant in our Federal Government and it has just become status quo. Sad, sad, sad..........would love to hear the justification press release for this nonsense!!

Seems to have spilled over the Potomac and is spreading like wildfire through the country. What do they not understand about having no money. Just drive around the country and see the waste that is made of our tax dollars every day of the world.

A classic example is the new sound barrier being constructed along I-20 east of Atlanta..........not only is it a waste of money they don't have, but the ugliest sound barrier known to man, unless then the one in Raleigh, NC beats it out.

I don't need to know how long it will take me to drive the next 5 miles of my journey or how fast the traffic is moving, these new informational systems along the highways are another good example of waste, brought to us by our local bureaucrats that don't have a clue as to how things work in a BROKEN economy..........NOT A CLUE!!!

By FED-UP on 4/7/2013 2:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
The county should give 50,000 people $20 each to go stand somewhere else - that's 3333 covered shelters full.

Bloated contractor....NOT
By Bobdt on 4/7/2013 2:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
Blame big government. The contract was approved at the final stage by ....a government worker. I can fairly guess that the worker was highly ranked because the contract cost millions.

Price of government contracts are bid upon by many companies by what is wanted by the contract. The lowest bid wins. Blame the government worker who put out the description of the project. Heated sidewalks? That costs extra. Want landscaping? ADD UP THE COSTS ! ! BIG GOVERNMENT COSTS MONEY !

By getmikey on 4/7/2013 3:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
OK. They've blown way too much money on this. But there is a definite way to save the day.

What they need to do is, ensure that there is at least two spots for the large (at least 27x54, maybe even larger) movie posters to be inserted in a highly visible spot. And then contact movie studios and other businesses and offer the spaces for advertising.

Chances are, they could likely recoup the money spent if they worked at this hard enough. And since seeking advertisers requires WORK, they can create jobs in the process!

Oh, and one more thing. All that glass, yet no solar panels to provide cell phone charging stations? Why not? And if they were smart, they'd figure out a way to charge small amounts of money for the access, perhaps a coin-operated charging station might cover the rest of the money spent.

They've messed up pretty badly. But instead of just being shocked and complaining about how bad this is (it IS bad, make no mistake), let's pull together and figure out ways to get these things to put some money bank into the system from which they've wasted it.

By getmikey on 4/7/2013 3:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
OK. They've blown way too much money on this. But there is a definite way to save the day.

What they need to do is, ensure that there is at least two spots for the large (at least 27x54, maybe even larger) movie posters to be inserted in a highly visible spot. And then contact movie studios and other businesses and offer the spaces for advertising.

Chances are, they could likely recoup the money spent if they worked at this hard enough. And since seeking advertisers requires WORK, they can create jobs in the process!

Oh, and one more thing. All that glass, yet no solar panels to provide cell phone charging stations? Why not? And if they were smart, they'd figure out a way to charge small amounts of money for the access, perhaps a coin-operated charging station might cover the rest of the money spent.

They've messed up pretty badly. But instead of just being shocked and complaining about how bad this is (it IS bad, make no mistake), let's pull together and figure out ways to get these things to put some money bank into the system from which they've wasted it.

Why can't government's projects provide a profit TO THE GOVERNMENT for a change???

By Jamesben on 4/7/2013 3:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be cheaper to hire a fleet of limos to pick up people at their homes and whisk them off to work or play?

By livemichaeln on 4/7/2013 3:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
I live in Arlington about 7 blocks from this $1m bus stop. While this cost is indeed outrageous, and there is nothing a conservative voter like me can do in Arlington other than accept this b.s. Democratic board's expensive decisions, it gets worse. The County is planning to build a STREETCAR SYSTEM along Columbia Pike (same location as this bus stop) at a cost of... $350 MILLION. Yes, you read that correctly. Over a third of a BILLION dollars to build a streetcar line on a street that clearly cannot successfully accomodate such a monstrosity. If my job as a private school teacher didn't necessitate me and my family living in Arlington, I'd move the heck outta this town.

By KarlQuick on 4/7/2013 6:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
Not only will the contractors get rich, now the ambulance chaser lawyers will also get rich.
In most parts of the country, a curb that high requires a rail to prevent people from breaking their ankle by accidentally stepping off....
Of course, in New York where the mayor wants to make sure you don't make yourself sick by drinking too large a soda or by smoking, the subways have a nearly 4 foot drop off, without rails! ...resulting in multiple deaths just within the last year!
Government no longer answers to the people; it is now criminally insane.

By jwood-the-other on 4/7/2013 7:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
"Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.''
Davy Crockett

By blistering_blather on 4/7/2013 8:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
The American people would do well to notice this story. I live near the road serviced by these stations and can tell you this is how the Washington, D.C. area works and is, unfortunately, fairly typical. Notice the price tag breakdown: $400,000 for 'management.' That means $400,000 to keep self-justified government wonks busy. ALL SUBSIDIZED BY YOUR TAX DOLLARS!

By thomas ass paine on 4/7/2013 8:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
shocka govmint stole your money. fbi on the case. lie down and dont move terrorist! just move along nothin to see. shut up lest you get busted for asulltin police.

Cost of bus stop
By josetoyou on 4/7/2013 9:26:42 PM , Rating: 2
Whoever sanctioned this public thievery should be prosecuted and sent to prison.
It sounds like a little bit of back scratching to me...

$1,000,000 Bus Stop!
By Eugene Pariah on 4/7/2013 9:32:18 PM , Rating: 2
Can you say "Davis-Bacon" boys and girls?

Nothing to see here
By half_duplex on 4/8/2013 11:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
Blue State - big Union. Nothing to see here, move along citizen.

By iulian207 on 4/9/2013 7:51:04 AM , Rating: 2

For me is nothing outrageous. In Romania this kind of works are for far more money. The price of highway per kilometer is double then the rest of Europe country's.

The key people form the party in power have some company's and they rubbing the country changing the curb-stone on the streets even if there are in good condition.

They put far lower quality then the original curb-stones installed in the Ceausescu era 24 year ago and selling the older ones to Spain.

They make a lot of works useless for the country, only to "rub" the money. Excuse me my English.

By mxnerd on 4/12/2013 4:34:10 AM , Rating: 2
You can buy three 2500 sqft houses in Riverside, CA with one Virginia bus stop.

This is absolutely outrageous.

$1M Includes Graft
By krusatyr on 4/7/2013 4:31:43 PM , Rating: 1
Commenters here neglect the price of graft to rig the bidding by "approved" bidders with "approved" subs and vendors.

And it's not just ugly, it's pigressive ugly. Inclusive of them to provide gangs with something to tag, aye. What will it cost someone with decent taste to raze it and haul it to the dump?

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki