A $112 million transit center in Silver Spring, Maryland, is years behind schedule due to serious construction flaws. After detecting the flaws, Montgomery County officials halted construction and hired en engineering firm to look at the center.
That firm’s report found that the pillars supporting the three-level center are inadequate to hold the buses that are supposed to use one of the levels; the concrete covering the steel reinforcement bars is so thin that the center will probably rust out in about 12.5 years, instead of the 50 years for which it was designed; and the center doesn’t meet fire standards.
Really, why does Silver Spring need an expensive, three-level transit center anyway? They could have fit everything they wanted in a ground-level, surface parking lot that would have cost far less than $112 million. This is simply another case of transit going for the high-cost solution to any problem.
Meanwhile, on the other side of DC, Arlington, Virginia–the same city that wants to spend $250 million on a 4.9-mile streetcar line–just finished installing a $1 million bus stop. Not surprisingly, construction took longer than expected.
Of course, not satisfied to spend a mere $1 million on a single bus stop, Arlington plans to build a total of 24 of these gold-plated bus stops. After all, why spend $5,000 on a shelter that protects customers from rain when you can spend a million dollars of other people’s money on a fancy bus stop whose “roof may not keep rain off the heads of those waiting”?