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Efficient Transportation Infrastructure Policy

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  • Clifford Winston

Abstract

This paper offers a perspective on paying for and investing in the transportation infrastructure. The following example illustrates the need to move away from the current national mind set. Pick any pothole-laden, congested two-lane road in an urban area. Suppose public funds are used to widen the road to four lanes and to repave it. Benefits will immediately flow from this investment in the form of lower travel time and less vehicle damage, but before long, the road will again fill to capacity and deteriorates. This cycle can be broken only if infrastructure is priced and invested in more efficiently. If the pothole-laden road is kept to two lanes when it is repaved but vehicles are required to pay efficient tolls based on congestion and pavement wear, then the road's capacity is far less likely to be exceeded during peak periods and its pavement will remain in good condition. Making efficient use of current transportation capacity will reduce the need for massive public investment in airports and roads and will prevent the recurrence of infrastructure problems.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 5 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 113-127

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:1:p:113-27

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.1.113
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References

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  1. Small, Kenneth A., 1983. "The incidence of congestion tolls on urban highways," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 90-111, January.
  2. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Berndt, Ernst & Hansson, Bengt, 1992. "Measuring the Contribution of Capital in Sweden," Working Paper Series 365, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Ernst R. Berndt & Bengt Hansson, 1991. "Measuring the Contribution of Public Infrastructure Capital in Sweden," NBER Working Papers 3842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gorman, Michael F., 2008. "Evaluating the public investment mix in US freight transportation infrastructure," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-14, January.
  4. Small, Kenneth A., 1997. "Economics and urban transportation policy in the United States," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 671-691, November.
  5. Bai, Chong-En & Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2009. "Excludable public goods: Pricing and social welfare maximization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 72-74, May.
  6. Jan K. Brueckner & Anton Goebel & Esko Niskanen, 1997. "Airline Deregulation: The American Experience and Prospects for Europe," Discussion Papers 149, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  7. Wei Zou & Fen Zhang & Ziyin Zhuang & Hairong Song, 2008. "Transport Infrastructure, Growth, and Poverty Alleviation: Empirical Analysis of China," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 9(2), pages 345-371, November.
  8. Productivity Commission, 2001. "Progress in rail reform," Others 0108004, EconWPA.
  9. David Levinson & David Gillen, 1997. "The Full Cost of Intercity Highway Transportation," Working Papers 199704, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  10. Pérez-Cervantes Fernando, 2014. "Railroads and Economic Growth: A Trade Policy Approach," Working Papers 2014-14, Banco de México.
  11. Musisi, A.A., 2006. "Physical public infrastructure and private sector output/productivity in Uganda: a firm level analysis," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19182, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  12. FitzGerald, John & Kearney, Ide & Morgenroth, Edgar & Smyth, Diarmaid, 1999. "National Investment Priorities For The Period 2000-2006," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS33, September.
  13. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Policy Watch: Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 189-198, Fall.

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