A Call for Urban Infrastructure Investments

A recent article laments the missed opportunity of President Obama’s recent calls for increased spending on infrastructure: a lack of acknowledgement that cities are the best places to spend those dollars.
March 13, 2014, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Starting from the assumption that “[public] investment in infrastructure and human or social capital combine to provide a societal foundation for dynamic economic growth and development by connecting the various economic sectors and industries,” a recent article by Michael A. Pagano makes the case for focusing infrastructure spending in the nation’s cities to achieve maximum economic benefit.

“Why is it so difficult… to knit together a transformative economic strategy that is explicitly rooted in and mediated by a metropolitan- or urban-focused set of policies?”

That difficulty is particularly troubling to Pagano given the high costs of deferred maintenance of the existing urban infrastructure. (The tendency of the federal government to favor infrastructure investments in suburban and rural settings has been discussed before.)

Instead of expanding infrastructure investments farther and farther out into the sprawl, Pagano suggests an alternative: “If new or expanded infrastructure projects are required, there must be an economic demand for those economic activities, and the political entities that gain from them should pay the lion's share of their costs.”

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Published on Monday, March 10, 2014 in Governing
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