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No matter how much evidence comes down the pike that government actors are governed by the same set of incentives as those not in the government sector (and that therefore it would be unusual to expect superior or even “good” outcomes of government policy), we will keep digging our holes deeper and deeper …

I already knew this:

Tens of thousands of unsafe or decaying bridges carrying 100 million drivers a day must wait for repairs because states are spending stimulus money on spans that are already in good shape or on easier projects like repaving roads, an Associated Press analysis shows.

States, however, have other plans. Of the 2,476 bridges scheduled to receive stimulus money so far, nearly half have passed inspections with high marks, according to federal data. Those 1,123 sound bridges received such high inspection ratings that they normally would not qualify for federal bridge money, yet they will share in more than $1.2 billion in stimulus money.

…”The feds had their own priorities, and their big priority was jobs and the economy. As a result, we had to move things quickly. I don’t fault that,” said John Zicconi, spokesman for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. “Nobody put the stimulus together as an answer to all our bridge issues. It was about putting people to work.”

That’s not exactly how it was billed. Obama pointed to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge during the Great Depression as an example of how transportation money in the new stimulus law could “remake the face of the nation.”

“It’s what we’re doing once more, by building a 21st century infrastructure that will make America’s economy stronger and America’s people safer,” Obama said in March.

“I can tell you that, for example, we have some prominent bridges that are structurally deficient that we want to get to as soon as possible for reasons of safety,” Patrick said.

But Patrick knew that months earlier he and state legislators had passed a $3 billion bridge program that didn’t rely on stimulus money. Massachusetts, a state with more than half of its 5,063 bridges deemed deficient or obsolete by inspectors, so far is spending recovery money on only one bridge.

I don’t even know where to begin with this.

2 Responses to “Hate to Say I Told You So”

  1. Harry says:

    The bridge where Teddy turned right? Are they putting up guardrails, finally?

  2. […] This post was such a dog bites man story that I never bothered to write anything of substance to go with it. One thought did occur to me the other day however. The stimulus (rightly IMO) is being criticized for not doing much to help the aging infrastructure in the U.S. though that was one major prong of the pitch for the stimulus. In fact, it was a major prong of government policy before the stimulus plan. […]

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