This new PATH station cost $4 billion. Here’s what that money could have bought instead

Gaze into the future. (Photo: JJBers)
Gaze into the future. (Photo: JJBers)

Many New Yorkers are apoplectic about the new turkey carcass Oculus WTC PATH train that opened yesterday. Design compromises, incredible delays, and cost overruns of $2 billion dollars have us scratching our heads as to why we spent $4 billion of public funds something that looks like a warped TV antenna. It connects to 11 subway lines and includes shopping, but the reviews are not great, and it managed to be more expensive to build than One World Trade Center.

Far be it from us to criticize such an ambitious, er … endeavor. Hell, we have a hard time just trying to comprehend the number four billion. To put it in perspective, the Brokelyn team has assembled a totally scientific list of marginally more useful things $4 billion could have bought us New Yorkers, in lieu of a glorified stairwell for New Jersey train commuters.

-2.4 years of daily round-trip Uber commutes from Williamsburg to SoHo during the L train tunnel closure. (80 million $50 round-trips for approx. 127,398 residents)

-390,000 zip lines over the Williamsburg Bridge, one for each resident and 68,000 French tourists in both directions. (7,000 feet of zip line at $102 per 70 feet and approx. 127,398 residents, plus FREE SHIPPING)

-$1,000,000 for each of the 4,200 NJ Transit rail workers to keep them from striking next week. Actually, we take that back; maybe we’re OK with fewer Jerseyans here for a little while.

-Start saving for an artificial light when President Trump enacts a Mr. Burns-esque plot to block out the sun over liberal American cities. (13 million 1000W flashlights at $300 each)

-Free three-day passes to Panorama for every New Yorker plus $100 spending money for a couple of beers there. ($369 for 8.4 million residents)

-You know what? Fuck the olds. Three-day VIP passes for every NYC adult age 18 to 64. ($769 for approximately 5.2 million adults)

-“Make America Great Again” hats for the poorer half of the US population. ($25 per hat for 160,000,000 economic “losers”)

-666 million $5 picklebacks with $1 tip. (80 per man, woman and child in NYC)

-Tuition for 114,285 students to Trump University. ($35,000 each)

-Save the Knicks and the Mets from their terrible owners. ($3 billion and $1 billion — if we haggle — respectively)

-A shiny new streetcar line for Brooklyn plus a year of unlimited monthly MetroCards for the first 1 million customers. ($2.5 billion, $116.50 for each card.)

-Two backup Grand Central Stations in case the first one breaks. ($2 billion apiece, adjusting for inflation)

-A free tree air freshener every day for life for every PATH train rider to help combat that PATH train odor. (5.5 billion air fresheners at $0.72 apiece for 191,755 daily riders averaged over Jan. ’16)

-A full year of rent in an affordable microapartment for all 60,000 homeless people in NYC plus another 290,000 low-income New Yorkers. ($950/month at the lowest monthly rate)

Anyway, enjoy your new train station, New Jersey York!

Future transit strikers David Colon, Tim Donnelly, Meghan Stephens, and Eric Silver contributed to this depressing list.

Follow Conal on Twitter for more populist math: @conaldarcy.

Leave a Reply