The External Costs of a New Stadium

Some Bay Area folks are a bit concerned of additional traffic congestion that’s likely to come with a new stadium for the A’s in Fremont, Ca (the link below is mine).

Putting aside other negative impacts, the bigger issue is traffic. Interstate 880 between Stevenson Boulevard and Dixon Landing Road is one of the worst bottlenecks in the Bay Area. Putting a stadium there will make things truly hideous. This must be somebody’s definition of hell: Put up with the current construction and associated snarls at Mission Boulevard and I-880 until 2008; then as soon as that is done, plunk a stadium down to re-create the tie-ups. Shouldn’t the residents of Fremont get to vote on this? Shouldn’t builders have to shell out a few billion to widen 880 more? I am an A’s fan, but this is crazy.

Would I be able to join the Pigou Club if I stated that the builders should pay some sort of fee/tax/something to widen the roads leading to the new park? Of course the billion dollar question is “how much additional congestion will be caused by events at the stadium?” While it wouldn’t be efficient to have the builders/stadium investors/event attendees pay nothing towards new infrastructure, neither would it be efficient to have them pay to expand I-880 to solve the marginal congestion problem and to correct externalities arising from other activities. Although perfection cannot be expected, to do it right, someone would have to identify the marginal congestion caused by events at the new stadium. Someone would also have to see accurately into the future.

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Author: Phil Miller

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