Construction costs in the United States are significantly higher than what Europeans pay, but when given the opportunity to look into the cause and ways to streamline costs, the GOP killed the investigation.
A recent investigative report from Matthew Yglesias looking into costs for expanding mass transit in New York revealed the expensive project hardly compares to a similar project overseas. But it was when Yglesias pulled a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about Washington, D.C. transit he saw a disturbing line.
“GAO is no longer directed to report on the construction costs of transit capital projects in the United States,” the report admitted.
The point at which they were “no longer directed to report” came after the 2015-2016 U.S. Senate session, which did order the GAO to report on these issues. Specifically, the GAO was ordered to report on the costs “no later than six months” and would require comparing the U.S. to other G-20 nations and make recommendations to the Department of Transportation. Sometime after the 114th Congress, that was changed.
Yglesias doesn’t conclude whether the reports were killed due to construction companies seeking to overcharge, sweetheart deals with friends who own construction companies or whether it comes down to an intentional lack of accountability. The possible conjecture is endless but due to the lack of transparency, the public will never know.