NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Transportation Infrastructure in the US

Gilles Duranton, Geetika Nagpal, Matthew Turner

NBER Working Paper No. 27254
Issued in May 2020, Revised in June 2020
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment, Public Economics

Support for massive investments in transportation infrastructure, possibly with a change in the share of spending on transit, seems widespread. Such proposals are often motivated by the belief that our infrastructure is crumbling, that infrastructure causes economic growth, that current funding regimes disadvantage rural drivers at the expense of urban public transit, or that capacity expansions will reduce congestion. In fact, most US transportation infrastructure is not deteriorating and the existing scientific literature does not show that infrastructure creates growth or reduces congestion. However, current annual expenditure on public transit buses exceeds that on interstate construction and maintenance. A careful examination of how funding is allocated across modes is suggested by the evidence. Massive new expenditures are not.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27254

Forthcoming: Transportation Infrastructure in the US, Gilles Duranton, Geetika Nagpal, Matthew A. Turner. in Economics of Infrastructure Investment, Glaeser and Poterba. 2020

 
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