Retrovision: The Real Cost of the Quality of Life Projects

This article originally appeared on 12 April 2017.

Sure, half a billion dollars is a lot of money. Especially for a the city with the second lowest per capita income among MSAs in the U.S. (among MSAs with a population of more than 500,000).

Especially for a city whose population growth has flatlined, and occasionally declined, since 2012.

Especially for a city that can’t even keep its streets maintained.

And then there’s the Operation and Maintenance costs of all those new projects. And interest payments.

Yeah, that’s a lot of money. But it doesn’t capture the true cost of all those QoL projects.

Because the true cost is represented by Opportunity Costs.

What could we spend/have spent that money on?

Education. Infrastructure. Things that might lead to Economic Development, and Jobs.

Of course, that wouldn’t have benefitted the downtown real estate speculators. And, in the scheme of things, who’s important to local government?

In their defense, the last generation of city government might not be corrupt. They might just be misguided.

Or stupid.

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