SUNK COSTS—THE SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY. A corollary of the arguments of Surowiecki and Arkes is that once a large commitment of money is made to a project, it is more likely to eventually be completed. The reluctance to treat previous expenditures as sunk costs means that the partially completed project is less likely to be killed and that additional funds will be found in the future to complete it. This wikipedia article tells the history of the Second Avenue Subway Project in New York City—referred to sometimes as “The Line That Time Forgot”. The project “has been a plan and occasional construction project since 1929.” Forty years ago, in October, 1972, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a project which would stretch from 34th Street to the Bronx. In 1975, because of financial difficulties for the city, construction of the subway was halted, with only three sections of tunnel having been completed, those between Pell and Canal Street, 99th and 105th, and 110th and 120th Streets. Over 30 years later, in April 2007, the groundbreaking occurred for a new Second Avenue Subway construction project in a tunnel segment built in the 1970s at 99th Street. There are no funding commitments for segments stretching from 125th St. to 96th St, from 63rd St. to Houston St. and from Houston St. to Hanover Square. I find it hard to imagine that the project will not be completed eventually.

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