My title at IFP is "Senior Infrastructure Fellow," which means that in addition to publishing this newsletter, I do work related to infrastructure policy. At a high level, that work is figuring out which things we should be building, and how we can make building those things easier. But it’s worth diving a little deeper, to understand what physical infrastructure is, and why it's worth having a policy arm devoted to it.
I’m an urban planner and writer and just wanted to say that this post is a masterpiece of clear, concise explanation for a general audience. Well done and thank you!
Great article! Really enjoyed reading
The common thread and it applied beyond infrastructure, is how to get public bodies to use cost benefit analysis in their investment and regulatory decision making,
Great writeup! I'll start recommending it as a primer.
A few months ago, I wrote a piece about the regulation of energy infrastructure. Goes hand in hand with your bullet point of "monopolies":
"infrastructure creates significant benefits that can't easily be charged for, markets and private actors will under-provide it.”
China's government has been building infrastructure profitably since completing the Dujiangyan Water Diversion project.
After 8 years of rock-splitting, it solved two massive problems for the Empire and has repaid its construction cost 100% every day since 256 BC.
The Three Gorges Dam repays its construction cost every 4 years. The HSR has a healthy 8% ROI, the just-opened, 700km Yangtze-Huaihe Grand Canal will be a boon to shippers, farmers and the environment, and retire its bonds in 15 years.
We've never had much talent for such things and the few we have, lost hope.