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Hoover Dam
Old 12-13-2008, 10:25 AM   #1
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Hoover Dam

Watching a TV show today, it was stated that it cost $60M dollars to build Hoover Dam, and that would be $600M in todays dollars. I got to thinking, does anyone think you could build Hoover Dam for $600M today, My guess more like $6B. So why the difference? Inflation is accounted for in the $600M.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:41 AM   #2
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Watching a TV show today, it was stated that it cost $60M dollars to build Hoover Dam, and that would be $600M in todays dollars. I got to thinking, does anyone think you could build Hoover Dam for $600M today, My guess more like $6B. So why the difference? Inflation is accounted for in the $600M.
I'm thinking along the lines of $6B myself. My company owns several dams, the largest is much smaller than Hoover and I've heard estimates within the company of well over $1B to duplicate that project 10 years ago.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:41 AM   #3
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Watching a TV show today, it was stated that it cost $60M dollars to build Hoover Dam, and that would be $600M in todays dollars. I got to thinking, does anyone think you could build Hoover Dam for $600M today, My guess more like $6B. So why the difference? Inflation is accounted for in the $600M.
Wages, benefits and employment costs have, on average, risen faster than inflation since Hoover Dam was built. That alone would account for a significant chunk of the difference.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:47 AM   #4
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Wages, benefits and employment costs have, on average, risen faster than inflation since Hoover Dam was built. That alone would account for a significant chunk of the difference.
And hunting for snail darters most of the rest.

Ha
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:47 AM   #5
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I'm sure the regulatory compliance burdens are higher as well.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:50 AM   #6
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I live about 30 mins from Hoover Dam. Interesting place, lots of concrete poured and the art work, art deco is incredible, looks like it was built last year. Workmanship supreme.

As for cost, no health benefits, no unions, no rules, no drinking, strict work ethics, concrete made on site in plants, plenty of raw materials in area, no 401 k's, no pension costs. Just build housing for workers, and they came from all over. Worked for I believe 6 contractors who rules with an iron fist. They have a nice museum in Boulder city for a few bucks that tells the whole story.

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Old 12-13-2008, 10:55 AM   #7
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A ten fold increase figure for the cost of public works project is way off.

Look at steel , concrete , fuel, labor.

Diesel fuel was under 10 cents a gallon, recent ranges $2.00 - $4.00.

An engineer with a degree was working back then for about $40 a week, including bennies. Today, the same engineer , about $1,500 a week .

A skilled ironworker or carpenter cost under $10 a day , including overhead and bennies.

I am comparing apples to apples on the labor costs. Large gov't public works projects,( prevailing wage, etc. bla bla bla...)

Private sector cost's today will vary all over the country , sometimes a lot.

The CPI is about worthless for cost. Ratios are better for durable goods.

The cost of an avg. new car is about 6 mo. pretax gross wages for a skilled worker today , and was the same 50 years ago.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:02 AM   #8
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We could easily build it for $600 M today, as long as we built it in China.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:01 PM   #9
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I got to thinking, does anyone think you could build Hoover Dam for $600M today, My guess more like $6B. So why the difference? Inflation is accounted for in the $600M.
I'm pretty sure that OSHA had a hand in that, and it's a good thing.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:16 PM   #10
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OSHA? What's that! Show said that the construction hard hat was invented by the Dam workers. They took tow baseball caps, one facing forward the other back, and dipped them in tar until they were 'stiff and very hard'. Also said the 59 people died during construction, but due to the depression there were plenty of people waiting for the jobs. Something like 40,000 applications for the 5,000 jobs.

Having lived in Vegas for three years, those had to be brutal working conditions! Vegas climate is extreme in both winter and summer.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:05 AM   #11
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We could easily build it for $600 M today, as long as we built it in China.
And then shipped it to the desert like London Bridge?
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:22 AM   #12
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Right. Just like EBay -- the shipping and handling charges kill you.
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