Rubber or Steel?

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Let’s say you are a real estate developer looking to build a project or someone looking to buy a house with the choice of locating on one of two islands. These islands are identical in every way imaginable, they are both the same size, same soil, same distance from the urban core, and both are currently served by a their own car ferry.

The City decides to build a new steel bridge to one of the islands. The same day, the City decides to build a bridge made out of rubber pontoon boats to the other island, thinking if the rubber pontoon boat bridge is successful, they will consider building a steel bridge to the island some day, but if no one uses it, they will simply remove the bridge.

The steel bridge costs more, but will last for 60 years and it can carry more traffic and provides a much smoother ride than the pontoon bridge.

The pontoon bridge is cheaper and can be built faster, but the pontoons require higher annual maintenance costs and have to be replaced entirely every decade or so.

So, which island do you pick and why?Two Islands


4 thoughts on “Rubber or Steel?

    Citykin said:
    February 3, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Heck why build the pontoon bridge at all? Just get everyone who wants to get to the island a rowboat.

    The comparison is apt. Developemnt follows infrastructre. Just ask the property owners near the new Union Center highway exit.

    Unfortunately many people would prefer to live on their own island and would dread the crowds steel would bring.

    JohnnyD said:
    February 3, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Or, we could just let the ‘rubber’ people move to their island and let them rot there…

    Randy Simes said:
    February 4, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    It is interesting to see this same alternative played out in a different scenario. We then see just how ridiculous of a proposition it is.

    gerard said:
    February 5, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Great analogy. I’ll remember it for times when I attempt to browbeat people into supporting the streetcar.

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