It is possible for a city to spend half-a-billion dollars over 25 years for an as-yet unbuilt facility. Just ask the Austin City Council, which seems intent on doing just that. In the mid-1980s, the city planned to spend $165 million to build a water treatment plant. So far they’ve expended $96 million without even construction plans anywhere close to finished, and the project cost has nearly tripled. apparently keeping Austin weird means making taxpayer broke.

The Austin American Statesman reports that “Indecision is one reason the plant’s cost has grown.”

City council members recently voted to buy a tract of land for the facility – at $3 million over the appraised value. Neat trick, eh? Over-paying… for nothing.

They also spent an additional $5 million buying up land for an alternate site. No plans, but they’re planning for alternatives? Alternatives to what? Apparently when you waste money, you need to have contingency plans for wasting more in the future.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”


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