Will Federal Stimulus Again Feature Infrastructure?

As recessions fears grow, discussions about increasing the level of federal spending on infrastructure projects also grow.

1 minute read

March 15, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Highway Construction

Eunika Sopotnicka / Shutterstock

The U.S. economy now appears headed for a recession, thanks to the S&P 500 dropping 20 percent from a recent high, so Jeff Davis writes about the potential of infrastructure spending as an economic stimulus. 

According to Davis, “predictably, there are those in Congress who are calling for an increase in federal infrastructure spending as part of a response to this downturn in the business cycle.” WIth that political momentum in mind, Davis poses the following questions: “[I]s increased infrastructure spending the best way to counter a downturn in the business cycle that is caused by the confluence of a [sic] (a) a reduction in foreign trade; (b) a temporary collapse in demand for travel, hospitality, and public gatherings, and (c) a drastic drop of oil prices and its effect on the energy sector?”

To produce an answer, Davis investigates the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as highway stimulus spending from 1958, 1975, 1983, and 1991. 

The answer is that the case for infrastructure spending in a recession is complicated. The slow pace of capital investments can make this approach ineffective as a response to short-term business cycles, but governments should do be spending on infrastructure anyway, for the potential long-term benefits.

Friday, March 13, 2020 in Eno Center for Transportation

Black and white Rideshare Pick-Up Zone sign

The Slow Death of Ride Sharing

From the beginning, TNCs like Lyft and Uber touted shared rides as their key product. Now, Lyft is ending the practice.

June 1, 2023 - Human Transit

Urban sidewalk shaded by large mature trees

Cool Walkability Planning

Shadeways (covered sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate controlled walkways) can provide comfortable walkability in hot climates. The Cool Walkshed Index can help plan these facilities.

June 1, 2023 - Todd Litman

Traffic on the 405 interstate freeway through the Sepulveda Pass at Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California

Congestion Pricing Could Be Coming to L.A.

The infamously car-centric city is weighing a proposed congestion pricing pilot program to reduce traffic and encourage public transit use.

May 30, 2023 - Los Angeles Times

Two blue and white tents on a paved bike trail under an overpass in San Diego, California with palm tree and vegetation on one side

How San Diego Camping Ban Could Impact Neighborhoods

An ordinance supported by the city’s mayor would bar people from sleeping on the street near shelters or services, but critics say it will simply push people to other neighborhoods and put them farther away from the supportive services they need.

June 8 - Voice of San Diego

Small white one-story building with Maggie Hathaway Golf Course sign with American flag on flagpole and green lawn

Expanding Access to Golf in South Los Angeles

L.A. County’s Maggie Hathaway Golf Course getting up to $15 Million from U.S. Open Community Legacy Project to expand access to the sport in South L.A.

June 8 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story housing under construction

Opinion: Failed Housing Bills Could Signal California-Style Housing Crisis in Texas

Legislators in a state that so often touts its policies as the opposite of California’s defeated several bills that would have made housing construction easier, leading to concerns that a constricted housing market may exacerbate the housing crisis.

June 8 - The Dallas Morning News

Principal Planner – Advanced Plans

Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Department

Planning Officer

City of Bangor

Planning Director

Park City Municipal Corporation

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.