Using Dollars with Sense: Ideas for Better Infrastructure Choices


With infrastructure policy set for the spotlight in 2018, the Urban Institute is hosting this series to look beyond funding and into the way we choose which infrastructure projects are built and which are not.

On this page, you will find short essays about what criteria policymakers should keep in mind to make effective choices and what levers they can use to do so. Visiting fellow Shoshana Lew argues for one such tool in her new brief, calling attention to asset management plans.

Our authors hold various views and roles in our infrastructure system, and while they may not all agree, we hope their collective output will be a resource for infrastructure leaders to draw on as they make decisions that will reverberate in places and people’s lives for decades.

We look forward to a thought-provoking and useful discussion.

To track the conversation, you can check this page each week. You can also follow @UrbanInstitute on Twitter.

Phillip A. Washington: What Criteria Should Policymakers Consider When Selecting Infrastructure Projects for Funding?

"I believe the federal government can make positive strides in adopting criteria for any new infrastructure plan that would blend key factors to ensure two priorities. First, it would ensure a maximum return on investment for federal taxpayers. Second, it would deliver more mobility for more Americans."

Jodie Misiak and John Porcari: Strengthening Multimodal System Coordination and Innovative Asset Delivery Considerations for Project Funding Decisions

" Asset management and funding decisionmaking must also include criteria regarding the multimodal nature of transportation systems, and the various financial and contractual arrangements that might be necessary to ensure that asset management plans are funded and implemented for the full asset life cycle."