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Big government forgets how to build big projects


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Washington Examiner:

Big government forgets how to build big projects
By: MICHAEL BARONE
Senior Political Analyst
August 17, 2010

The Pentagon was built in just 18 months nearly half a century ago. (Max Desfor/AP File)
When I drive from downtown Washington to Ronald Reagan National Airport, I often encounter delays on the George Washington Parkway due to construction of a small bridge over an inlet of the Potomac.

It's called the Humpback Bridge, and the Federal Highway Administration began reconstruction in January 2008. It was supposed to be finished last February, but the estimated completion date is now June 2011.

That's 42 months to finish a bridge that doesn't rise more than 30 feet over the water.

From the top of the Humpback Bridge, if you glance to the south, you can see the Pentagon.

The Pentagon was built in 18 months.

From the groundbreaking on Sept. 11 (yes!), 1941, it took only 15 months for Gen. George Marshall and Secretary of War Henry Stimson to move in.

Those metrics tell us something about how government worked then and how it works now. It's taking more than twice as much time to reconstruct a small bridge than it took to build the world's largest office building more than half a century ago.

Now it must be conceded that the two cases are not precisely comparable. Construction crews leave the Humpback Bridge during rush hours. They built the Pentagon 24/7/365.snip
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