HOUSTON Texas . 00AF _id L_ _J is our business! Across from Texas Medical Center and Rice University, only 5 min. from Astrodome and Astro World, convenient to everythingdowntown, zoo, golf . . . and luxurious comfort! 485 Beautiful Rooms Fantastic Pool Cabana Suites Glass Elevator Excellent Food Sauna Baths Nightly Entertainment Meeting Rooms Color TV Vibrating Beds Bi-level Suites Room Service Free Parking CALL TOLL FREE: 1-800-447-4470 0 IL Tiote,t MOTOR INN 6700 S. Main Houston 77005 414 BARTON SPRINGS AT SOUTH 1ST AUSTIN, TEXAS 512/476-4838 MOTOR INN 6500 S. Main Houston 77005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15 1976 to decide whether the city should sell its interest. At that time, voters weren’t ready to back out, and the STNP won by a larger margin than in 1973. But the issue was not dead, and new economic problems keep cropping up. In 1978 a series of estimates on construction cost overruns was finally capped by a task force report that project costs have doubled and even more overruns may lie ahead. Not simple inflation but construction delays and grossly inaccurate estimates of what would be required to build STNP are the cause of the steadily mounting figures. The report says that 122 percent more steel is required than was estimated in 1973; 83 percent more concrete; 88 percent more piping; 100 percent more wire and cable. When STNP was being sold to the public in 1973, the plan estimated that 11 million man-hours of labor would be needed; the task force estimates 33 million manhours are required, an increase of 200 percent. In other words, the nuke sold to the voters in 1973 was misrepresented. Confidence in the managers of the project and in the city department that has uncritically accepted the economic projections has been badly shaken. Austin Citizens for Economical Energy, a group including old antinuclear warriors and new converts who doubt STNP’s financial soundness, is waging a campaign to defeat Prop 14. The group argues that defeat of the proposition will force an up or down vote later, possibly in April. ACEE chairman Roger Duncan says, “We don’t know what amount of energy we’ll actually get from the STNP, except that it’ll be less than 100 megawatts. That amount is hardly worth putting up transmission lines from STNP to Austin, and it’s mere tokenism for fuel diversification.” Nuclear proponents are split. Those who consider themselves political realists will vote for Proposition 14 to retain interest in a portion, even though it will be a very small portion. The more daring nuclear advocates will vote “no” because they want to retain the full 16 percent share and they are willing to risk an election to get more money for STNP. The only certainty about this referendum is that it won’t be the last one. If defeated, the city will need another vote soon to decide whether Austin will get out entirely or will ante up its share of the cost overrun. If Proposition 14 passes, Austin’s share will dwindlepossibly far below 8 percentas more overruns occur, and the question of its value will continue to plague the city. Susan Reid
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