Letter to the editor: Knopf is naive to think any infrastructure project creates jobs
In her latest column on infrastructure, Susan Knopf wrote: “According to Forbes, ‘The U.S. needs an immediate infrastructure stimulus of roughly $300 billion, and we need a long-term transformational infrastructure initiative on the order of $3 trillion.’”
Forbes is a respectable magazine, not known for advocating big federal government spending projects. It also publishes opinion pieces from diverse points of view. It turns out that Knopf’s quote was not the opinion of Forbes, as she represented. It is from an article advocating more infrastructure spending by Norman Anderson, the chairman and CEO of CG/LA Infrastructure, a global infrastructure project development firm. His company advises construction industry clients how to get taxpayer funding for their projects.
Anderson has every right to advocate for $390 billion in taxpayer spending for his clients’ proposed pork barrel projects, including projects for the too-powerful telecommunications industry ($50 billion); New York City tunnel, airline terminal, and wind facilities ($21 billion); a Mississippi project to export carbon-producing natural gas ($20 billion); and a 230-mile private railway connecting Dallas and Houston ($30 billion). The question is whether these projects are a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Knopf is wrong to suggest that the people of Summit County should support Anderson’s projects. Taxpayer funds should be appropriated only to projects whose public benefits exceed the costs and are superior to the benefits of other projects. Maybe Knopf sincerely believes that the people of Summit County will benefit from this proposed infrastructure spending. More likely, she naively believes any infrastructure project “creates jobs” and will have a projected payback of $1.92 for every dollar spent, regardless of whether any jobs are actually “created” and regardless of who gets the payback. You can be sure taxpayers won’t get the jobs or the payback.
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