Building Stuff in Cities is Really Hard, Washington DC Edition


One of my rules of thumb whenever I see something sort of odd that has no obvious explanation is: ADA. That is, it might very well be the result of someone trying to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. To see what I mean, Matt Yglesias has a fine little story here about how ADA compliance morphed into a $7 billion track renovation project in Washington DC.

In fairness, ADA is only a part of the story. Still, it’s a part. And it’s surprising how often it seems to play a role in otherwise inexplicable projects and rules. What’s more, even if ADA isn’t truly the taproot of all this proposed new construction at Union Station, it’s still a pretty good story about how a relatively small improvement in an already densely-built urban area leads by inevitable concatenation into a fantastically complicated and expensive project. For want of a nail etc.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate