OPINION

Delays, overruns take their toll

Reports that have emerged recently of the budget overruns and costly delays plaguing public projects have been a shock to the public. Unfortunately, the full implications are not always grasped: we are faced with a squandering of state coffers and the price of this will have to be paid by Greek taxpayers. A recent example is the doubling of costs for the construction of a 4.3 kilometer extension of the Athens metro line. Soaring costs and repeated delays will inflate the bill (paid for, of course, by taxpayers), prolong discomfort for urban commuters and halt related development projects. Above all this signifies great disregard toward the people who work hard, pay taxes, respect their commitments, make sacrifices and expect to see infra structure projects completed and more growth. The swarm of businesspeople who squander public wealth, the state officials who open the door for them, politicians who know what is going on but fail to act – all should be held accountable for breaking the social contract with the people. This is impermissible for a society claiming to be governed by the rule of law: the overwhelming majority of people pay taxes and respect the law, while a minority of profiteers tread on the backs of the majority, frittering away precious funds. The moral and political burden is even bigger: A ruthless minority sucks the dynamism out of the country and undermines people’s confidence in the rule of law.