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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



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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

quote:
"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.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc...
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
quote:
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
Agreed.
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
http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/2271880

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.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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