How infrastructure has historically promoted inequality

For example, poor roads can damage cars and leave drivers paying for the added expense of repairs. And proximity to health hazards like waste sites lead to higher health care expenses. While poor maintenance of infrastructure can cost Americans, the construction of new infrastructure has the potential to benefit them. Having public transportation lines nearby can significantly raise property values, for one. Rail transit and bridges can enable people from underserved groups to travel to better paying jobs or to obtain different services, said Daniel Armanios, an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

In one 2020 study, Armanios and his co-researcher determined that communities in Pennsylvania with more people of color and single-parent families tended to have fewer bridges. The bridges that existed were more likely to be “restrictive” or low-clearance, which can obstruct the influx of business goods and transportation services.