When government looks at project cost, it focuses on out-of-pocket expense rather than the total cost.
Traffic counts on Broadway in Galveston range from 13,000 on the east to 45,000 on the west. Assume an average of 30,000 vehicles at 1.25 passengers and construction delays of 0.5 hour a vehicle and the average value of an occupant’s time is $25 an hour.
The delays cost $468,750 a day. If the Texas Department of Transportation won’t mitigate this, the city should.
If having city marshals direct traffic will shave 15 minutes off the delays, it would save $234,375 a day in costs before the expense of the marshals.
To compute the marshals’ cost, you would look at the value of the work they would be doing if they were not directing traffic. This work is hard to value.
As aesthetically rewarding as the war on weeds may be, it is hard to value in dollars. The value of the work the marshals are doing approximates their salary so we can use that number.
One marshal at each of 10 intersections for 8 hours at $25 an hour would cost $2,000 a day, which would save $234,375, minus $2,000 implementation costs, equaling $232,375 net benefits.