By: Dr. Lynn Reaser
Q: Is the $90 billion devoted to infrastructure in President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill a good approach to boosting construction employment, and if so, what should the San Diego region spend its share on?
No. While infrastructure investment may have merit in boosting our economic potential, this program will probably have only a limited impact on construction jobs. First, the proposed $90 billion represents just 11% of last year’s depressed building expenditure total. Second, these projects often require considerable time to secure all of the required approvals and permits. They then often ramp up gradually as the design and engineering phases precede actual construction. San Diego might most effectively deploy its share of federal funds in updating and repairing its basic infrastructure that may have been deferred because of budget cuts, including local roads, bridges, railways, water systems, and schools.