Stop building new infrastructure: “One Iconoclast’s Blunt Message on Transportation Funding.”


This one’s from 2015, but worth repeating.

Our recent experience in New Albany illustrates Charles Marohn’s basic point. We’re overbuilding local infrastructure wants while calling them needs; and Jeff Gahan has affixed his personal campaign finance needs to the profuse kickbacks from these wants.

One Iconoclast’s Blunt Message on Transportation Funding, by Alan Ehrenhalt (Governing)

After advising municipalities on how to construct roads for years, Charles Marohn now believes America needs to stop building new highways. Will his new way of thinking catch on?

… (Charles Marohn) reiterated his view that the country can survive a while longer without a sweeping new federal transportation bill. Doing nothing, he said, “is preferable to throwing a lot of money at the current approach.”

The gospel according to Marohn is simple enough to put into a few words: We have built too many highways. We have built them in places that didn’t need them. We have built them in places that can’t afford to maintain them. That’s why the federal Transportation Trust Fund is going broke. And if Congress approves a new transportation bill under the old rules, we’ll just build more unneeded roads and force the communities that host them into a further cycle of debt.

Marohn isn’t against spending federal dollars to repair the infrastructure we have. He’s against handing more money over to transportation planners who will always be able to find an excuse to build something new. “The present system is overbuilt and is going to contract,” Marohn recently wrote. “We have so much transportation infrastructure that every level of government is now choking on maintenance costs. I’m tired of seeing bridges fall down and expensive roads go bad while we spend billions on new stuff we will never be able to maintain” …