Friday, September 09, 2011

Shovel Ready Projects

This from Megan McArdle:
"The infrastructure stuff will be fine, if we choose good projects--America needs roads and airports and so forth. But as we discovered with the previous round, the better the project, the worse the stimulus. There are no terrific infrastructure projects sitting around, waiting to break ground next week . . . nay, not even if we streamline the regulatory red tape."
I don't entirely agree with this. While I would love to see intercity rail, upgrades at our ports (not airports), light rail and BRT in cities, these will all take time. To that extent it is true. However there are some things that are high value, that can be implemented rapidly. I think the FAST proposal (Fix America's Schools Today) is one that can deliver a high and lasting value (employment today, reduced energy consumption hereafter) and be implemented quickly. My only disagreement with the proposal as is I don't think Davis Bacon rules should apply. The same logic though could be extended beyond schools to federal buildings and state and local government properties. This would benefit a sector where employment has been destroyed (construction) and have long lasting environmental benefits. That constitutes efficient stimulus.

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