How Not to Screw Up Spending $1 Trillion on US Infrastructure

Step one: Repair. States must ditch the habit of spending more on building and widening new roads—things that, reminder, don’t necessarily help with traffic—than on fixing the ones they’ve already got. Between 2009 and 2011, according to Smart Growth America, states shelled out $20.4 billion on new stretches of asphalt and just $16.5 billion to maintain the other 99 percent of the system. You can see why: Cutting a ribbon on a new stretch of interstate makes for a way better press release than filling another pothole. But lord, is it dumb.