No hurry

by Russ Roberts on January 20, 2009

in Stimulus

From the AP:

It will take years before an infrastructure spending program
proposed by President-elect Barack Obama will boost the economy,
according to congressional economists.

The findings, released to
lawmakers Sunday, call into question the effectiveness of congressional
Democrats' efforts to pump up the economy through old-fashioned public
works projects like roads, bridges and repairs of public housing.

Less
than half of the $30 billion in highway construction funds detailed by
House Democrats would be released into the economy over the next four
years, concludes the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Less
than $4 billion in highway construction money would reach the economy
by September 2010.

The economy has been in recession for more
than a year, but many economists believe a recovery may begin by the
end of 2009. That would mean that most of the infrastructure money
wouldn't hit the economy until it's already on the mend.

And this:

Overall, only $26 billion out of $274 billion in infrastructure
spending would be delivered into the economy by the Sept. 30 end of the
budget year, just 7 percent. Just one in seven dollars of a huge $18.5
billion investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs
would be spent within a year and a half.

And other pieces, such
as efforts to bring broadband Internet service to rural and underserved
areas won't get started in earnest for years, while just one-fourth of
clean drinking water projects can be completed by October of next year.

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