The Investment Deficit

Interesting report from the Campaign for America’s Future on America’s investment deficit in infrastructure:

America grew up investing in its land and its people. Historically, we directed roughly 8 percent of our gross domestic product to long-range investments, and the investment paid off. Now we are down below 4 percent. Our post World War II infrastructure is starting to decay, and we aren’t replacing it. We are lamenting the loss of jobs rather than hiring people to renew and rebuild.

Other countries are racing past. China spends 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure investment and opens a new subway system every year.

Beyond the quantity of funds, one major problem with our infrastructure policies is the quality of our decision-making. Our spending allocations are highly politicized and our politics are highly skewed toward underpopulated areas and toward senior members of congress. But the two places where you don’t need more infrastructure are the places where nobody lives and the places that have already been targeted for spending. Instead of the spending we need, we’ve tended to get round after round after round of bridge and road construction in Alaska when what we need are things that would reduce congestion and support smart future development in the country’s largest metro areas.