Monday, June 9, 2008

Half price sale on a CTA station at Block 37

I'm kidding, of course. But hey, the CTA station at Block 37 will now cost more than $320 million, way up from the $213 million budgeted. I think that's half of what Soldier Field (or the once-landmarked monstrosity on Lake Shore Drive with that name) was, and who knows how much less than Millennium Park? Wasn't that $600 million, too, or more? So, the city will find more TIF funds to help pay for it.

And wait! That's not to finish the station. Get this:

But people familiar with the matter say the new subsidies will cover only costs already incurred.

Until even more money is found, those people say, the semi-completed station will be mothballed, much like an unfinished basement in a home whose owner has poured the concrete but can't afford to install carpeting, paneling and other finishing touches.

Unbelievable. Oh, wait, this is Chicago, where budgets are only very rough estimates.

Seriously, if I were a developer, can you imagine what my money partner would say to me if I consistently brought projects in at 50%+ over budget? I can't print it, but I'd surely be canned. But this seems to happen a lot in the public sector. Why -- not my money syndrome?

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