Monday, October 30, 2006

Build it and they will come.

Frequently, when an existing road is proposed to be widened, the anti-widening folks will often make the following argument: "Yes, the road is clogged now, but if we expand it, it'll eventually become congested again, so let's not build it."

This just doesn't strike me as a good argument in a country with a growing population. Yes, the road might become congested again, in fact, it probably will. However, it'll become congested while carrying significantly more people. This means that new jobs will be created, new office parks, new shopping centers, movie theaters, etc. will be built.

Here on the east coast, we have Interstate 95, which runs parallel to Route 1. Route 1 is an old road: in New England, it is the old Boston Post Road, which is older than the United States. In the 1950s, when I-95 was built, I'm sure that Route 1 was very crowded. Of course, I-95 is often a standstill today, but that doesn't mean we should have never built I-95. If it had never been built, Route 1 certainly wouldn't be carrying all the cars that I-95 carries today, but the entire region would be much less developed, meaning that thee were fewer jobs, fewer houses, and fewer cars.

You may think that is a good thing. However, since we have a growing population (our birth rate is about replacement level, but we have many immigrants), we need to accommodate this growing population by building the infrastructure necessary. And we need a growing population to fund social security and other ponzi-esque pension schemes.

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