Today small number of Latvian leftists celebrated the International Worker's Day. The old guard communist and leader of the Latvian Socialist Party Alfrēds Rubiks called those couple of hundred elderly who gathered in Grīziņkalns to continue to fight ("šodiena ir cīņas diena, A. Rubiks) for their rights. It did not create any social reverberations in this sunny day, because most of folks travelled instead with budget airlines to European and Middle Eastern destinations. Also the group of about thirty Latvian Social Democrats gathered near the monument of the spiritual father of the Latvian Social Democracy Jānis Rainis today, and listened to their leader and former Popular Front star activist Mr Dainis Īvāns.
In his speech Dainis Īvāns reminded his listeners about the significance of the May 1 and called people to remember that Latvia is a country not only for the rich people, but also for the blue collar workers, teachers and pensioners. It sounded strange, however, from the man who supported ill famed "dumpster bill" of the odious member of the AAA team Mr Šķēle.
Also, while being member of the Riga City Council he never raised a voice about absurdly expensive Southern bridge. Because city councilors voted to keep the final costs of this lucrative project as secret it is impossible to know exact costs now. However rather many experts have mentioned the sum of 568 million lats (about 812million euros under current rate of exchange 1EUR=0.70Ls), as the final number for this hyper lucrative project.
I wrote about the absurdly high costs of the Southern bridge across the Daugava river already before. And today news came from Shanghai about finishing the longest suspension bridge in China - the New Runyan bridge. The latter bridge is 36 times (!) longer than the bridge built in Riga. Final costs of the Runyan bridge according to Delfi stand at 763 million lats (1,09 billion euros).
Workforce is definitely cheaper and also more effective in China (it took them 3 years to build that bridge, while Latvian counterparts are in their third year and not finished yet). Technology for building Runyan bridge was probably more sophisticated (more technological innovations used for suspension of such a long bridge) than for building its tiny (just 800m long) cousin in Riga. It is especially significant considering that technology to build the Southern bridge was brought not from the West but from Russia.
Technologies is not the most significant aspect here, however, but the total costs of the bridge. According to the official data from China (one should always be healthily suspicious about statistics from non-democracy as well:) and experts estimates about total costs of the Southern bridge, constructing 100m of the Southern bridge should cost about 1,015mlj euros, while building 100m of Runyan bridge cost 30 277 euros. Simple arithmetic's says that Riga taxpayers should pay for construction of 100m of concrete bridge 3252% (!) more than Shanghai taxpayers. Is it good news from China about "relative" ineffectiveness of Latvian builders only?
It is Friday morning and I passed by the Southern bridge whilst taking my car to garage. Because there is official holidays in Latvia (May 1-4) no one was working on it. And no one will be working on it till Monday, while in the meantime the Deutche Bank issued credit obligations are there, what a waste... . No wonder then that the 800 meters Southern bridge is considered as the "biggest" construction site in this land, and with the cost equivalent of nearly 10% of the current Latvian GDP. Sad... .