This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Well the cost estimates are out. As Hugeasscity had a little bird tell him it looks like everyone is leaning towards Alternative C. It is a good balance between vehicle capacity and making the waterfront a great place to be. As pointed out in previous entries these different alternatives are not mutually exclusive rather just a mixture of different elements, many of these elements can be applied to most or all of the alternatives.
In order to make any of the surface alternatives viable there must also be a significant investment in transit including streetcars, rapid trolleys (anyone know what that is?), and rapidride. For a comparison I’m picking what most people in this blog and STB would pick. So…. let build a viaduct replacement.
Hybrid B/C: Capital/Operating (cost in millions)
Central Waterfront: Couplet – 900
I-5: Medium – 346
Surface: Medium – 291
Streetcars: High – 641/26
Transit: High – 476/60
Policies and Management: High – 24/36
Capital Cost – 2,678
Operating Cost – 122
Already Committed Costs – 1,100
Total Cost – 3,778
Funding + 2,390
Balance = 1,388
Below are the minimum cost for the other alternatives. As you can see the surface option with all the transit goodies is a good amount more expensive that the elevated option and falls mid-range in comparison to the underground/trenched alternatives. So if Hybrid B/C is to be built a compromise will probably have to be made. With Hybrid B/C the road improvement cost comes out to 2,346 million, roughly 400-900 million less than the elevated options. Although the elevated alternatives aren’t where this region or its leaders want to go I think this will limit how many transit goodies can be added on top. If they all cost 2,778 million we could justify coming up with the extra money and spending it on transit. My guess is that both Rapidride and the streetcars will be scaled back with the streetcars taking a larger hit unless alternative funding (federal, LID, etc) can be found.
Elevated Alternatives Minimum Cost = 2,700 to 3,200.
Underground/Trenched Alternatives Minimum Cost = 3,000 to 4,600
A huge thing that wasn’t factored in was tolls. Everyone is thinking about them. If tolling on I-90 and SR-520 start in 2010 and they improve traffic, which the models show they will, this region might move ahead with region wide tolling faster than expected… I think???