Most of you are probably aware by now that a major ingredient in President-elect Obama's plan to "jump-start" the economy is massive public works projects to "rebuild our crumbling infrastructure."
In response to this, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has developed a "Ready to Go" List of Infrastructure Projects they believe should receive federal funds. According the report, these projects will "strengthen the economy" of our nation's cities and
Just what kinds of projects do the mayors believe will "produce lasting economic benefits" to the nation and help the private sector succeed?
For North Carolina, a total of 77 projects dispersed among 5 cities (Durham, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Rocky Mount, Winston-Salem) is included. About 47 of these projects fall under the following categories:
- Walking/biking trails
- Pedestrian bridges
- Gymnasiums/fitness centers
- Recreation Centers
- Athletic fields/tennis courts/basketball courts
- Skate Park
- Swimming Pools
- Community Garden
Projects involving actual bridges, streets, streetscapes, storm drainage/sewers, industrial park and general neighborhood re-development total a whopping 17.
Clearly, the alleged "infrastructure" investments is really code word for local pork projects. How will playgrounds, skate parks and swimming pools produce "lasting economic benefits"?
To the contrary, these government-owned entities will only tie up scarce resources (i.e. land, concrete) that will no longer be available for the private sector to create sustainable jobs and wealth. Furthermore, once completed these government projects will force an added burden on the taxpayers in the future as the costs to maintain them will be the only "lasting" effect.