On large and complex government projects, costs will double from the original estimates. This tendency is called Edwards’ Law of Cost Doubling.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the PATH rail station at the World Trade Center. Edwards’ Law was in effect:
… it has become a budgetary boondoggle, its cost doubling to nearly $4 billion, which gives it the unenviable distinction of the world’s most expensive train station.
Some people are blaming the project’s architect, Santiago Calatrava, for the problems. But, as I noted here, the real causes seem to have been political squabbling and mismanagement by the overgrown Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The WSJ notes:
But at the World Trade Center, Mr. Calatrava’s travails signal broader disharmony and discord at the country’s most recognizable construction project. The nearly 14-year effort—for which his firm has collected more than $80 million, according to a person familiar with the payments—has been marred by frequent public fighting between the governmental and private parties involved.
Bursting budgets throughout the 16-acre site have weighed heavily on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the body that owns the site. The agency has delayed other projects like renovations of the region’s airports, and tolls on bridges and tunnels to New Jersey have more than doubled in recent years to raise revenue.