A massive infrastructure upgrade from the federal government is great in theory. It gives people jobs and makes us safer and more productive in the future.
But, in practice, high-level bureaucrats have a mixed record picking projects that provide economic value, with studies varying widely on how effective federal infrastructure spending actually is.
Leaving more spending to local governments isn’t necessarily a bad idea. They are arguably better informed about what projects are most pressing and potentially valuable.
By reviving local economies, you create a stable tax base to finance infrastructure. If we want more than short-term job creation, repairing America’s infrastructure problem will require ingenuity at the local level, where things broke down in the first place.
Photo of infrastructure renewal under the National Mall by Storm Cunningham