Monday, March 21, 2016

A Screenshot Worth A Thousand Words - March 21, 2016

Note the WTI-Brent spread:

A huge "thank you" to a reader who just sent this moments ago.

(With regard to WTI-Brent spread, remember that expiration dates for WTI crude and Brent crude are no longer "sync'ed." See RBN Energy earlier today. See first comment below.)

I track the WTI-Brent spread here

The Rule Of Three

The "author" over at the Coyote Blog (linked at the sidebar at the right) has had any number of posts on light rail in Arizona; others of us have been more focused on California's "bullet train" to nowhere. We now have our third state with a light rail issue: Hawaii.

The New York Times reports a debacle that can only be compared to the "Big Dig" in Boston:
From the start — when Honolulu officials began talking about building a 20-mile elevated train line near the southern coast of Oahu — there were concerns. How much would it cost? What would it do to the character of a state that has long celebrated its natural beauty and isolation? Can an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean handle the kind of ambitious public works project one would associate with urban centers like Boston and New York?
Eight years after voters in Hawaii approved a referendum clearing the way for construction of the rail line, many of the concerns that have been voiced during a 40-year debate over the project have turned out to have merit.
The project was initially projected to cost $4.6 billion, but that number now is $6.7 billion, forcing the city in January to approve a five-year extension of a general excise tax surcharge to help cover the overrun.
Too expensive to fail:
City officials are awaiting the opening of two sets of bids, covering the final 10 miles of the project, to see if even that is enough. At this rate, city officials said, it could have the distinction of being, on a per-capita basis, the most expensive transit project in the country’s history.
Yet at this point, even its most ardent opponents are resigned to its completion. Close to seven miles of concrete railway are already arching up to 40 feet over farmland and crowded streets, and pillars are in place for the first of 21 stations. Federal transportation authorities have contributed $1.5 billion to the project, which Honolulu would probably have to return if it were cut back or abandoned.
“People are very angry about it,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu, as he drove through the streets of his city. “But we are now heading toward eight miles completed. It’s like we are pregnant — we can’t just stop and tear it down.”
And that estimated $6.7 billion for the total cost? Unlikely. State analysts are now penciling in a $7.1 billion cost

And so it goes.

Oh, not quite:
“What is happening is what most of us predicted would happen,” he said. “The way I look at it, it might hit $9 billion. They haven’t hit the hardest part yet.”  
He? Benjamin J. Cayetano, a former governor of Hawaii and longtime critic of the project, argued that officials lowballed the original estimates of what it would cost to win voter approval.

Stay tuned.

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