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Paul Krugman

Nobelist Krugman Joins Call for Federal Transportation Spending

ts_krugman_190.jpgFor decades, groups like Build for America have made a strong case that transportation spending has to increase. They have rightly warned that the U.S. transportation network is falling apart, with bridges failing and transit systems lagging behind international competitors. But wars, tax cuts and social priorities have stymied increased investment.

Now, as the country teeters on the edge of a dire recession, increased transportation spending is starting to look like a core building block in a federal stimulus package that would, ideally, bring about job creation, increased international competitiveness and improved environmental sustainability. Today, Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman helped make the case, using the kind of "fix it first" and pro-transit examples promoted by Build for America at Wednesday's press conference.

And this is also a good time to engage in some serious infrastructure spending, which the country badly needs in any case. The usual argument against public works as economic stimulus is that they take too long: by the time you get around to repairing that bridge and upgrading that rail line, the slump is over and the stimulus isn’t needed. Well, that argument has no force now, since the chances that this slump will be over anytime soon are virtually nil. So let’s get those projects rolling.

Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

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