One critique you’re beginning to hear about the infrastructure ideas in the President’s jobs proposal is that the Recovery Act’s infrastructure programs were some kind of bust, of never got started, or whatever.
Demonstrably untrue. There’s no question that they did not get up-and-running as quickly as other parts of the program, but here’s a graph of the cumulative spendout on public investment (which includes infrastructure along with other investments like clean energy and health IT). And below that, a more specific look at work underway by day 200 on 192 airports and over 2,200 highway projects across the country.
I’m sure you’ll hear claims to the contrary in coming days as we debate the infrastructure initiatives in the American Jobs Act, but the fact is that these projects were solidly in the economy by last summer. The problem is we needed more of them this summer, and we’ll need more next summer as well.
Sources: first figure, CEA; second figure, see link above.