In “Why It’s Hard to Get Good Projects Going” in the Boston Globe, Marron Alumnus Marc Dunkelman suggests that what is “lost in the debate over how to fund new [infrastructure] investments is the question of how expeditiously government can deploy the money.” He references the work of Marron’s Transportation and Land-Use program:
Today, an improvement that would benefit everyone remains politically out of reach. Without anyone capable of metabolizing the trade-offs, low-hanging fruit remains unpicked and unpickable.
Often obscured by funding battles, this is the essential story of infrastructure across the country. It’s one of the reasons why, as researchers at NYU have begun to highlight, building new systems is significantly more expensive in the United States than in other advanced industrial economies across Europe and Asia. China can erect high-speed rail networks in little time because residents of affected neighborhoods have no recourse when the government decides to wipe their homes off the map. America should never go that far, but as groups including Common Good have argued, government needs to pair the impulse to bring additional stakeholders to the table with expeditious ways to resolve disagreements. In the mid-20th century, no one could stop a bad project. Today, it’s too hard to get a good one going.