Roundabouts “Beauty” Contest

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
14 July 2018 | Contribuables Associés / France


France has more than 40,000 roundabouts all over the country. To build a roundabout, it costs something between 100,000 and 1 million euros. Some of them cost millions of euros, paid by the taxpayers. Those extra costs are due to the cost of amenities and decorations. In total, more than 20 billion euros have been spent to build roundabouts in France!

The subject of roundabouts is very well known by Contribuables Associés. In 2013, we made headlines by publishing a long story about their costs and why these infrastructures are sprouting up like mushrooms. Several media outlets: Le Point, Blue France, Le Figaro, France Télévision, M6, made interviews with Contribuables Associés and wrote articles about our investigation.
We’ve decided to take up this theme, a real symbol on how the government can waste the public money. We’ve had a big contest to expose the worst roundabouts in France. The playful dimension of this contest highlighted our message against unnecessary public expenditure.
Soliciting users through our newsletter or via social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, we received nearly a hundred reports from all over France of ugly, expensive or poorly arranged roundabouts.

Four years after our 2013 survey, we discovered that there have been many roundabouts since then, and sometimes their costs explode.

We asked our internet users to vote on a Top 10 of construction cost overruns. Voting was held from the 12th of December 2017 to January 8th 2018.
Immediately, the local press seizes the subject, then the national media. The phone didn’t stop ringing at the Tax Payers Union office. We had to answer a lot of questions from journalists. Finally, the roundabout scandal was published for everyone to see!
On January 9, 2018, we revealed the results of the three worst roundabouts in France. 12500 internet users participated in the vote.

Dozens of press articles spoke about our operation. TF1, the largest TV channel, broadcast 3 reports that same week on the News
Through this contest, Contribuables Associés put the spotlight on the waste of public monies that come from the taxes that we pay.
Our goal was largely achieved: in the space of one month, this scandal was the subject of 200 press articles, more than fifteen television shows, thirty radio reports, and nearly one million hits on Facebook.

How to break down the cost of the construction for a roundabout.

More than 20 billion euros were spent on construction, the costs are divided between:

  • pavement (about 40%)
  • decoration (30%)
  • sidewalks (25%)
  • signaling (5%)
  • not counting the purchase of land, which is particularly expensive in peri-urban areas.

Read more about this project here.