The truth in this case is the opposite.
Construction costs might be higher than we like, but relative to industry norms, the City of Salem routinely brings in small road construction projects under budget. The costs from the 2008 road bond projects came in about 80% of budget and by adding a bunch of smaller projects, the City was able to add by count of projects another 50%. Sure, much of this was during the Great Recession, but the facts are that the City is not profligate on small and medium-sized road projects.
The project for bike lanes for Church and High is no different.
|Budgeted for $600,000 in 2015 CIP|
There was no secrecy here.
The estimated public cost is also consistent with the City of Salem's recent explanation of the budget in the context of the email mistake:
"The engineer’s estimate for constructing the project was $254,191.25. The winning competitive bid was $243,567.98," [spokesman Mike Gotterba] said. "Funding-wise this project was budgeted at $140,000 by Public Works and up to $600,000 was available if needed from Urban Development."So the real story here is that the project is coming in under budget.
There's also the matter of scale.
|At 17th and Mill|
By this measure, the cost for
|This was a $10 million project|
(Looking down Glen Creek towards Wallace Park)
|Grinding out angle parking lines, adding new parallel stalls|
High Street bike lanes, August 2016
There are things to criticize the City on. The project for bike lanes on High and Church is not one of them. It's too bad the PM left in her remark unedited, but that is not a meaningful admission or gaffe. It is instead a comment on our propensity to overreact, and a comment on the climate the City has fostered by their obstinacy in pursuing a philosophy of overbuilding on our largest projects.
Please let's save our outrage for the SRC and not waste it on valuable, if imperfect, projects like bike lanes downtown. If we want the City to pursue a more rational transportation policy, flipping-out over the cost of bike lanes, or fanning an environment in which project managers worry that the public will flip-out about small projects, will be counter-productive.