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$30 Million? $80 Million? Is there a difference?

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Photo by Fred Camino of MetroRiderLA via Flickr

It was originally reported back in December that Metro was looking into gates and turnstyles for railways at the cost of $30 million. Today, in an opinion piece by LA City Beat, they say it's now $80 million and that there is no need to spend money on this project:

This morning (Thursday, February 28), the Metro board is scheduled to give final approval to an $80 million, 10-year contract to install turnstiles along the Red Line subway and at select light-rail stations. The numbers don’t add up and the project should be abandoned. We think this boondoggle will likely cost far more to set up than Metro estimates and save less in unpaid fares than the transit agency, in its overly optimistic way of viewing the world – when it serves their interests – says it will.

So far, only one of 13 board members – Richard Katz – has risen up to oppose the plan. Last month, when the Metro board was all set to sign off on the plan, Katz came forward with a last-minute letter raising questions about Metro’s assumptions. In the letter, Richard Stanger, the mastermind behind the region’s Metrolink commuter train network, poked holes in all of Metro’s budget numbers and discounted claims that turnstiles would improve security one ounce.

A study found that 5% of people rode for free, costing an estimated $5.5 million annually. That means this would pay off in over 14-years and this is a 10-year-contract. What. is. going. on?