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NY Times Article Makes Powerful Case for Transportation Investment

There's an interesting and important article in today’s The New York Times on The Virtues of Investing in Transportation by Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a former chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton who currently serves on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in its infrastructure subgroup. One of the main points of the article is that the debate in Washington about slashing government spending is “overlooking how a significant, sustained increase in infrastructure investment would create jobs and strengthen the nation’s competitiveness.”

The article points out that the Congressional Budget Office says infrastructure spending is one of the most effective fiscal policies for increasing output and employment and one of the most effective forms of government spending in terms of the number of jobs created per dollar of budgetary cost. “Studies indicate that each $1 billion of infrastructure spending creates 11,000 (estimate of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers) to 30,000 jobs (estimate of the Department of Transportation for infrastructure spending on highways) through direct and indirect efforts,” Tyson argues, adding that “most of these jobs are added in construction and related sectors, hard hit by the housing crisis, and most of they are relatively well paid, with wages between the 25th and 75th percentile of the national wage distribution.”

The bottom line: “Even as we slash other forms of government spending, we must invest more in our infrastructure.”

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