Some clarifications.It could be my fault for ‘misnomer-ing’ their idea, which might be better described as excessive staffing, little to no competition, antiquated regulations, and over-generous contracts thwarting any attempt to keep the costs of rail down. In their prediction, these issues would eat through the 66 billion rather quickly, and may prevent actual projects getting completed (in a timely and non-costly way). To be fair, this has happened with other infrastructure projects like the 2nd Avenue tunnel, the Big Dig, and the CHSRA (at least to my understanding. If I’m wrong, feel free to politely correct and cite).
2nd Avenue Subway *did* have problems with contractors chiseling and charging excessive amounts, however. Not unions -- contractors. NYC in particular has a lot of problems with overpriced bidding, which is mostly NYC-specific.
Big Dig was fundamentally always going to cost what it cost, it was warned about in advance, and it was advertised with an lowballed cost by the politicos who wanted to build it. It's a *road tunnel* and they're *very expensive*, partly due to width and ventilation. Rail's cheaper.
CHSRA had one problem with a chiseling, money-extracting contractor on the first segment; that contractor hasn't been hired again. CHSRA is actually coming in on budget, pretty much, in constant 1995-era dollars; claims to the contrary are dishonest, and have been made by a *change in the procedure used to account for inflation*, which is essentially a dishonest way of doctoring the numbers. This change in how costs are reported was mandated by anti-rail extremist politicians.
The fact is that outside NYC, Amtrak hasn't had any of these problems and its projects have mostly come in on budget, with the exception of NYC-area projects. There is a problem in NYC.