In a two-part series, Marohn looks at how American cities came to believe that suburban sprawl was a key to prosperity and turned a blind eye to the expense of the expanded infrastructure. The Federal Department of Transportation played a key role, says Marohn:
"...the initial cost to the local government for new growth is minimal. If the state or federal government provides a grant or low-interest loan to subsidize a project -- for example, the extension of a sewer or water line -- the local government may have to pay something, but it is nowhere near the total cost. Where the DOT comes in and builds a highway, widens a road, puts in a signal, builds an overpass, etc... there may be some local funds contributed, but again, the vast overwhelming majority of the money is spent by the DOT."