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Our Backwards Infrastructure Process Wastes Money

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When funding infrastructure, federal elected officials do not start by asking, “What projects need to be done?” Instead, they ask, “How much money should we spend?”

Then, through a process that amounts to little more than a parlor game, they decide on a giant number — say, 550 billion. They put a dollar sign in front of it and divvy it up in legislative text. (You Are Here.) They pass it and have a great big signing ceremony where they pat each other on the back for all the great infrastructure they have “created.”

Now, state transportation officials — who are the most knowledgeable on what is actually needed and have heretofore been taking the back seat in this process — have to figure out which projects get funding. Again, the incentive is to throw every project at the wall and see what sticks. Forecasts are part of this process. So if you’re a consulting company putting together a forecast, and you want a project to get........

© National Review

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