The Antiplanner takes a crack at Highway Cost Overruns : ““Transportation costs too much,” argues a blogger who calls himself The Transportationist, which I suppose isn’t any more ridiculous than calling yourself the Antiplanner. The Transportationist lists several good reasons why transportation costs too much, including the fact that–despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on transportation planning–no one really does benefit-cost analyses. But he misses the point about user fees: projects funded out of user fees are more likely to be efficient, partly because the agencies or private parties receiving those fees know the fees are limited and partly because they want to spend them in ways that will generate more fees (which means in ways that benefit users enough that the users are willing to pay for them).”
I will number this (39) on my list. I am not sure I agree with this (Robert Bain has shown toll road over-forecasts of demand, though I am not sure about under-forecasts of costs). I do agree that indirectly political “commission” governance probably beats governance through a more directly political agency, and have some work coming out soon showing this.