President Trump has repeatedly made the case for a comprehensive infrastructure package. He did so on the campaign trail, and he has kept up the drumbeat in the Oval Office. As his administration prepares to issue its proposal for revamping the nation’s creaky transportation systems, aging waterways and inadequate broadband, it should zero in on two key problems.
First is shortsighted spending. The federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on infrastructure. Roughly two-thirds of that spending pays for new, improved or rehabilitated structures as opposed to their everyday operation and maintenance — costs that are mostly borne by state and local governments. For far too long, the federal government has poured money into new construction without an eye to what happens after the ribbons are cut.