Imagine for a second that the hangar never existed. Now imagine that somebody offers to pay the Navy $500,000 for the right to build a giant steel skeleton that is going to cost somebody -- either the public or some enterprising business -- more than $10 million to either use or demolish. Is that a deal the public wants the Navy to take?
The Navy announced last month that it could strip the hangar's contaminated siding and clean its steel frame for about $500,000 less than it would cost to take down the whole thing. (Notably -- and I'm only pointing this out to needle my sister's fiance -- the costs of demolition are more than twice the Navy's original number, but the estimated costs of fully restoring the hangar are also much higher than previously suggested).
That simple comparison tends to obscure the point, though. If the Navy goes with its preferred option, at some time in the future somebody is going to have to put up a whole lot more money either to replace the siding or to take the structure down.
Anna Eshoo, resisting calls to get the federal government to be this somebody, framed the issue to the Voice's Daniel DeBolt as follows:
Further appropriations money "would have to come up in a new Congress," she said. "I don't think it's news to anyone that dollars are scarce. When the country is spending $2.5 billion a week on the war it really hits home. Funding for infrastructure, funding for education -- as sad as it sounds all of these areas are really pushed. If this is to be a priority I will work on it. But it's tight, everything is tight."I'm not ready to admit that tearing down Hangar One is the best option, but it is refreshing to see a Democrat actually stand up against earmarks. I suppose that it is a little easier to do so when nobody is even in place to benefit from this one.