Houston’s next urban boondoggle?

metrorail6As with most major metropolitan areas, Houston has its share of urban boondoggles.

Let’s see now.

First and foremost, Houston has the financial black hole known as Metro Light Rail, which will continue to require enormous subsidies for decades to come.

But Houston also has the $100 million Bayport Cruise Ship Terminal, which has never docked a cruise ship since its completion in 2008.

Of course, who could overlook the continuing dither over what to do with Houston’s expensive and obsolescent Astrodome?

Or the Harris County Sports Authority’s problems servicing the junk debt it issued in connection with financing the construction of Houston’s Reliant Stadium for the NFL Texans?

And don’t forget the City of Houston’s decision to build a downtown convention center hotel that is almost certainly a huge money-loser, as well as the City’s ill-advised financing of several smaller downtown hotel projects and Metro’s dubious real estate development deals.

Which brings us to the most recent boondoggle — the local governments’ decision to throw about $50 million or so into the construction of a minor-league soccer stadium.

With that track record, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised with anything that local politicians might cook up as the next urban boondoggle.

But really. Financing of grocery stores?

5 thoughts on “Houston’s next urban boondoggle?

  1. Ha, come on Tom, surely it’s hard to disagree with Kuffner’s conclusion on irrigating Houston’s food deserts: “All of these ideas sound pretty good to me.”

  2. Tom,
    What I don’t understand is why didn’t they build Reliant Stadium bigger so that it could support both venues.
    Doesn’t make sense to me. This Soccer Venue will only support TSU and the Dynamos. The seating is limited and as we have seen, when you bring in the US Soccer and Mexican Soccer leagues that venue is not big enough to hold all of the fans. They sell out Reliant.

  3. Kevin, it occurs to me that, for someone who is blindly supportive of government subsidies of light rail, subsidies for grocery stores must seem quite logical.

  4. Kuffner is a good guy, and a smart guy, and the proper response to his conclusion is:
    Good! If YOU think it’s a good idea, then invest YOUR money in that, and quit trying to spend everyone’s tax money on it.
    All the projects Tom’s pointed out have in common that they only make sense when financed by OPM (other people’s money).

  5. Pingback: The Voracious Appetite of Urban Boondoggles | Houston's Clear Thinkers

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