It is now complete, at a cost of $260 million, and set to open soon.
Which brings me back to one of my favorite topics, why it is so hard to build anything in our society. In a mechanical sense there are two parts to the problem: first, there are many points at which pressure may be brought to stop a project, because of the many approvals and reviews that area needed: zoning boards, local governments, state agencies, Federal agencies, environmental review. Second, there are lots of organizations which will eagerly step up to oppose anything that violates their vision of their own communities. That vision might have many parts, but some of the most common are: preservation of historic neighborhoods and buildings, public access, public parks, traffic reduction, discouraging fossil fuel use, keeping rents low, and preventing change in general.
Sometimes I think the biggest loss is all the time and effort people put into getting these projects built; thousands of hours of human talent went into overcoming objections to the new light rail line in suburban Washington. What could we do, if our planners, engineers, and politicians did not spend so many years of their lives fighting these battles?
If we could build things as quickly as we once did, would that lift our spirits out of our angry malaise? Would that be worth the inevitable losses, including the loss of a sense of control over our own communities?