Washington’s Road to Economic Decline

I have a column up at Real Clear Markets today about the “long history of bi-partisan bonehead thinking on Capitol Hill about transportation, jobs and the economy.”

It is no surprise that in an economic slump, or any other time really, politicians would focus on the jobs “created” by transportation spending. Leaving aside the flawed logic that taking money from one group of people to fund work by others in any real way “creates” jobs. The stopgap transportation bill is a poster child for how Washington has long been thinking about transportation, which explains the decisions it has made that have undermined economic growth in the United States.

I go on to explain how transportation infrastructure really effects the economy, with some emphasis on how disastrous is our federal, state and local government’s decisions to allow congestion to continue growing. I conclude:

Our economy needs an oil change in the form of revamping transportation policy to focus on providing an effective transportation system that fuels economic growth rather than political ambitions and the creation of jobs “immediately,” as Rep. Pelosi put it. Two years ago, a colleague and I sketched out in some detail what a more effective highway trust fund reform would look like. The most important things we focused on were transportation investments that maximize transportation benefits and mobility, and funding transportation with user fees, not taxes. Our economy depends too much on effective transportation for it to be a political pony to ride.

Read the whole thing here.