The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will surely benefit if the federal government were to spend a trillion or three dollarson infrastructure. So it is no surprise that its latest infrastructure report card says the nation needs to spend not one, not three, but four-and-a-half trillion dollars on infrastructure.
Yet there is no reason for the federal government to get involved in any of the infrastructure needs claimed by ASCE. In fact, the potential for federal spending on infrastructure is probably doing more harm than good since other people aren’t doing what they should be doing because they are counting on, or at least hoping for, the floodgates of federal funding to open.
Here are some of the most important infrastructure needs identified in the ASCE report:
- Transit gets the lowest grade of any of ASCE’s infrastructure categories. Not coincidentally, transit is the most tax-dependent and gets more federal subsidies of any of the other infrastructure categories.
- Railroads get ASCE’s highest grade. They also happen to be the least subsidized, being almost entirely private. Will anyone learn this lesson about private vs. public ownership of other infrastructure.