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The 'Visions' of Arlington County Board Members

One of Thomas Sowell's recent columns talked about the 'tyranny of visions,' particularly the visions of zealots and similar do-gooders. These people never seem to understand that all the 'Good Things' they want have costs, and "notions like trade-offs and diminishing returns seldom deter zealots . . . however costly or counterproductive it may be for others." Sowell's column came to mind when we read NewsChannel8's story yesterday about the 69% jump (from $450,000 each to $761,000 each) in the estimated cost of the canopies for Metro's escalators. Much of the higher cost stems from a more "attractive design," which Arlington's member on Metro's Board of Directors explained as, "People wanted something that is more of a statement." Rather than sending Metro management back to rebidding for a cheaper and more utilitarian canopy, the same visionary said, "We now need to go back and find more dollars to support (more canopies for) more escalators." But hey, it's only the money of the taxpayers.

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