This is one of the most important things to remember when we start talking about spending money to build new prisons and jails. Alternatives are cheaper and certainly more timely, but the long term cost benefit is more than worth the investment.
SEATTLE — State and local governments in many parts of the country are struggling to pay for roads, bridges and other building projects because of rising construction costs, adding another burden to budgets already stressed by the troubled housing market.
The problems have come as many governments pursue ambitious projects to improve roads and airports, build schools and upgrade long-neglected water and sewer systems. Many of the projects were conceived when money from property, sales and income taxes was steady and interest rates low, but officials say the ground has shifted beneath their feet.
“Everybody’s scared,” said Uche Udemezue, director of engineering and transportation for San Leandro, Calif., which will soon put out a request for construction bids on a retiree center and a parking garage. “You don’t know what you’re going to find when you go out to bid.”
The impact has been felt in different regions at different times, and not every project has been high-profile. In Oregon, high costs have forced the State Department of Transportation to slow the rate at which it upgrades roads and bridges. In Seattle, school building projects were put on a fast track this fall because of fears of cost overruns.
The list of culprits for the increases often depends on the rate of growth and construction in a particular region, with labor costs playing a role along with the rising prices of materials like steel and concrete, and asphalt, fuel and other petroleum-based products.NY TIMES