But what if you subsequently let it fall apart? Bloomberg considers America’s fascination with building new while ignoring old:
A challenge generally is that states and localities, unlike the federal government, make a firm distinction between operating and capital expenditures. You can borrow money to build a road, but not to maintain it. This leads to a subtle — make that not so subtle — bias against maintenance spending.
“See those lights,” a transit manager in a major American city told me during a tour of an open-air train station, pointing to some bulbs in rusting metal frames hanging over the platform. “It would only cost about $1,000 a year to maintain those well. We can’t get that. So instead, we will wait until they rust out and fail completely. Then we will replace them, at a cost of perhaps $100,000.”
Giving money to developers and contractors: Good, because they are “free enterprise.”
Paying persons to maintain what you get for that money: Bad, because they are “government drones” (but not the kind of drones which kill people; those are good).