There is an argument about transportation infrastructure that is not made enough–not anywhere near enough.
It boosts economic choices and economic growth: two major flag waving issues for almost everyone in public life, especially the conservatives.
But why do we see so little coverage of the details of how it works? Perhaps because it’s a big picture argument in an age of little picture arguments.
This Switchboard blog takes a swipe at it, albeit with a distinctly narrow approach, but there isn’t enough promotion of this sort of discussion out there.
We know building and maintaining transportation infrastructure creates jobs as well if not better that any industry in the country. We know planning it wisely can help areas thrive as sustainable and enjoyable place to live, as Lovaas addresses in his blog. We know commerce can build warehouses and retail stores when the transportation infrastructure serves them well. We know road construction companies work over wide areas, and their employees take their income and spend it over wide areas. We know what the industry builds is an investment in America that produces returns for all of us over a long time. We know we can compete more effectively in international markets if we have the best roads, bridges and ports, and that sort of competitiveness provides long-term boosts to local, regional and national economics.
It’s possible that chronic and current under-investment in bridges and highways has led us to focus on the deterioration of our transportation infrastructure system, and that has become what we might call the default argument when it comes to reauthorization and the need for more funds. But don’t forget that money spent transportation infrastructure is not lost, it’s invested.