Why Unworthy Mega-Projects?
In Chap. 2, I presented estimates of the enormous resources that developed countries require to maintain, upgrade and expand their in-place transportation infrastructure systems. The data also showed that over time, only one-third to one-half of these needed resources are actually invested. Against this dismal picture one would expect that only the best welfare-contributing infrastructure projects would be selected for implementation. Yet, as demonstrated throughout this book, this is not the case. A significant number of the implemented transportation projects, especially mega-projects, display unacceptable ex-ante or ex-post transportation-economic properties: inferior economic performance, grossly missed schedules, way-off budgets and non-delivery of promised benefits. Furthermore, the formal requirement to conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) or one of its variants notwithstanding, the data show that few projects in developed countries have actually undergone a comprehensive CBA prior to their selection. This phenomenon is especially disturbing because it implies that, at least in these countries, a significant proportion of the scarce resources allocated to transportation infrastructure improvement are being misused or wasted.
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