Shafer wants a smarter infrastructure debate:
The political debate over what to build would benefit if policymakers and the press stopped grouping such disparate public-works categories of surface transportation, airports, waterways and ports, the electricity grid and waterworks all under the all-encompassing rubric of “infrastructure” and started asking narrowing questions. Perhaps the infrastructure pie should be sliced a little thinner so we can ask more precise questions about it. Was some infrastructure overbuilt and not deserving of repair today just because it exists? Does every infrastructure “need” demand a flotilla of dollars from Washington? Must we rescue every aging bridge in rapidly depopulating states like Michigan? Shouldn’t infrastructure projects such as harbor dredging be billed to those who directly benefit from them, and not the government?