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

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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.

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