EP 490 Is Infrastructure Spending As Wise a Use of Federal Dollars as Suggested?

Democrats and Republicans agree on little else, but both seem to buy into the notion that heavy expenditures on capital projects related to infrastructure will reap great dividends for the near and long term.  Who can argue that new roads, bridges, water systems and broadband enhancement are not beneficial?  But are the use of federal dollars, shared across the population, the best way to do it, or should there be more user fees to change the behaviors that often led to the deterioration in the first place? Clifford Winston of the Brooking Institutions, along with Trevor Gallen, wrote an article that caught our attention.  It was titled ‘The Wrong Way to Pay for Infrastructure’ and stated that while we may raise the gross national product by funding infrastructure the package ‘will hurt the economy by initiating a costly and lengthy transition to build new taxpayer-funded infrastructure’.  It’s hard to argue that these projects take much time, often incur substantial overruns and obstacles in siting, so we decided to have a talk with Mr. Winston to explore his contrarian point of view about this topic.  Some of his reforms are intriguing and might next time lead us to a place where such gross negligence and decline might not require another huge infrastructure bill.