January 22, 2010

A Glimpse of Competitive Possibilities

Justin Katz

I've been meaning to note this little clue of a possible reality under a more rational government:

One effect of the recession, however, was a fall-off in private construction that left contractors hungry for work. They moved into government construction work, competing with the contractors who usually do those jobs, driving prices down.

The result, Lewis said, was "a very favorable bidding environment." Last year, two projects came in more than $1 million under budget. DOT officials expect to have an extra $12.4 million that they can spend to nibble away at a huge backlog of unfunded highway, bridge and related work.

You know, this needn't be a recession-only phenomenon. If there weren't so many excuses to pay more at the various levels of government, this introduction of competition into the budgeting processes would be relatively mild by comparison. From gender requirements, to police patrols, to wage and benefit requirements for the contractors, government purposefully makes its projects more expensive. After all, those who benefit from the false minimums have more incentive to affect policy than does the individual taxpayer... except, perhaps, when the system becomes so ludicrous that bridges begin to threaten to collapse and the roads are all in disrepair, with no money to fix them.

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It always pisses me off when I drive by all the road projects and see a cop just sitting there in a police car wasting my dollars.

Posted by: Andrew B at January 22, 2010 12:28 PM
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