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Massive Infrastructure Bill Needed–But Smartly Created

February 7, 2017

I have long been a proponent of government spending for infrastructure projects.  The federal government has the means and ability to put dollars into projects that are needed and in so doing prime the pump on the economy.    I applauded the 2009 stimulus bill (though I wanted it to be larger and not cater to tax cuts) and wanted congress to act on such funding in 2013.    Now there is another chance with Trump who at least can see the need for a massive infrastructure bill that will create jobs.

As a liberal who sees the wisdom of government driving the economic engine I am also pragmatic in wanting the allocated dollars to have as much punch as possible.  In line with that thinking comes the must read of the day.

We used to do better. Hoover Dam was completed under budget, and two years ahead of schedule, and the Golden Gate Bridge, too, was finished early and cost $1.3 million less than expected. So what’s going wrong? It’s complicated: one analysis of the problem cited thirty-nine possible causes. And factors that immediately come to mind, like higher land costs or labor costs, don’t explain the difference between the U.S. and places like Japan or France. But some problems are clear. A plethora of regulatory hurdles and other veto points drag things out and increase costs. When New Jersey wanted to raise the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge, it took five years, and twenty thousand pages of paperwork, for the project to get under way. Obviously, environmental and workplace standards are important, but a recent paper by Philip Howard, the chairman of Common Good, suggests that a more streamlined regulatory process, like those found in many developed countries, could save hundreds of billions of dollars.

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