Editor: The July 18 issue carried a headline article that the County Board has approved a contract to build four bus stop shelters along Columbia Pike for $412,000 each.

The board’s tone was quasi-congratulatory that the new cost was less than previous proposals. Am I the only one to wonder at how anyone could think such an approach to be reasonable?

The sole purpose of a bus stop is to provide temporary shelter from the elements. It is, in essence, an umbrella. For $412,000, one can buy a nice two-bedroom, two-bath, condo in Arlington, complete with a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, heating, A/C and more. That seems a more reasonable investment than an umbrella to keep the rain out for a few minutes.

Rather than congratulating themselves for no longer spending a million dollars for a bus stop, or even a half-million, wouldn’t it be better for county leaders to look at what is really needed to do the job and justify it?

Cities all over the country – New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh – are exploring cost-effective bus stops that cost $50,000 or less. Why can’t Arlington learn from what others are doing, rather than using the Carl Fabergé design studios?

Is it decision-making like this that justifies their new pay raise?

Michael Driggs, Arlington

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