In a Washington Post column, “How Republicans Could Actually Improve Biden’s Infrastructure Proposal,” Catherine Rampell contends that “Americans spend too much and get too little” on infrastructure and highlights the work of the Transportation and Land-Use program.
The price tag matters, yes. So does getting a good bang for our buck.
The United States is notoriously bad at this. We pay much more per unit of subway track or road tunnel, for instance, than other developed countries. Five of the world’s six most expensive subway lines are in New York City, according to the Transit Costs Project database maintained by New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management.
Likewise, a new tunnel in Seattle cost around $1.6 billion per mile, more than three times the per-mile cost of a recent tunnel in Paris and more than seven times that of one in Madrid, according to institute fellow Alon Levy....
“Historically, since the Obama administration, we’ve seen a proliferation of pretty dubious projects on the transit side,” says Eric Goldwyn, a program director and professor at the Marron Institute. “So it’s a bit of a double whammy, where you’re building bad projects, but you’re also paying a lot to build bad projects.”