Public Works

I was listening to old shows on my TiVo while I repainted the sun room. NOW reminded me that the amount of money that governments spend on mass transit pales in comparison to the amount spent on roads. [links needed, but I’m just taking a short break from painting.] One wishes that Randal O’Toole would realize that once in a while, instead of ceaselessly harping on trains.

Now, I like trains. I like the built environment that arises around foot traffic. Because of the nature of railroads, they tended to encourage foot traffic and villages where they stopped.

And I think that government funding distorts incentives. And I think it would be a very interesting project to examine the costs and benefits of the public works of the 20th Century. I suspect that the effects of the National Highway System might be comparable to, for example, the Erie Canal. The costs, however, include a built environment scaled for automobiles rather than humans.