NYT Columnist Urges Two Infrastructure Stimulus Packages

David Brooks is dismayed at all the failed 'stimulus packages' and those yet to come. Instead, he points to short and long term infrastructure plans, mostly in transportation, that will help the country in addition to any stimulus to the economy.

"Bad policy ideas are coming in profusion. There are plans to bail out automakers. There are plans to issue more rebate checks (even though the last ones didn't work). Barack Obama is proposing one-time tax credits for small businesses that are hiring.

These and other plans amount to an economic sugar rush.

The smart thing to do is announce a short-term infrastructure initiative to accelerate all those repair projects that can be done within a few years. Then, begin a long-term National Mobility Project.

Major highway projects take about 13 years from initiation to completion - too long to counteract any recession. But at least they create a legacy that can improve the economic environment for decades to come.

Explore all the new ideas that are burgeoning in the transportation world - congestion pricing, smart highways, rescue plans for shrinking Midwestern cities, new rail and airplane technologies. When you look into this sector, you see we are on the cusp of another transportation revolution."

Full Story: Op-Ed Columnist: A National Mobility Project



Infrastructure And Global Warming

Pundits seem to be incapable of thinking about two things at a time. As soon as they start talking about stimulating the economy by building infrastructure, they forget what they were saying about global warming.

If we build highways to deal with the current economic problems, we will create much longer lasting ecological problems. It is not just conservatives like Brooks who miss this obvious point: some liberals are also shortsighted enough to call for more highway spending.

For a response to this column by Brooks, see http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/11/03/letters-to-david-brooks-yes-to-inf...

Charles Siegel

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