Re: Re: Fast-Track Infrastructure legislation
Regarding the economic elements of your argument, Frank, I have address the complexities of these issues in the Eoghan Harris thread where I attempted to show as calculating the price of a few telegraph poles or the infill for a few potholes. I would refer you to the many posts in this thread which I think expose some of the additional complications in working out whether the net cost of one-off houses to the state is greater than the net cost of urban houses to the state.
I’ve read through your arguments detailing why one-off housing may not be more expensive to the state than urban dwellings. When comparing urban with one-off housing I am thinking of urban as any area of a village, town or city with density of 30-40 people/acre.
I was interested to read it because I couldn’t imagine what arguments could be made. OK so here is my summary of your points. (Correct me where I have misunderstood you.)
1. Less urban-style social problems means lower costs
You compare a sink estate in Tallaght with a collection of one-off houses to show that urban housing comes with costly social problems not found in isolated rural houses.
This is not a useful comparison as you are looking at two different socio-economic groups.
2. Residents of one-off houses have money
You point out that people who build one-off houses must have some cash to spend so are likely net contributors to the state coffers. This is true but working people contribute to the state coffers wherever they live. The question is whether they cost the state more or less by living in one-off housing.
3. Tourist attraction
Some one-off houses also function as B&Bs and thus generate revenue for the state through tourism. It was reported a few years ago that one-off housing accounted for 40% of new houses built. (http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2001/0426/fro1.htm ) With 80,000 new dwellings last year, B&Bs cannot make up a significant proportion of that number. Lots of people use their homes to operate some kind of a business, whether in towns or in isolated locations.
4. Less social cost from driving
Rural car driving is less hazardous to the environment than urban driving, so smaller economic cost.
I would agree with you here. Urban driving is far more damaging to the environment than rural driving.
5. Everyone gets subsidies
You suggest that any subsidies received by people in one-off houses are more than matched by subsidies to urban dwellers. You point out that city dwellers have many things unavailable to people in solated locations.
It is true that if you live in a town then the services you get from government will be more numerous and of higher quailty than those you receive in an isolated location. This is because these services can be provided at less cost when people live close together than when they live far apart. it does not follow that higher quality services implies subsidisation.