Infrastructure

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A broad range of infrastructure projects are crucial for our nation’s economic growth, from the schools that educate our children, to the airports, highways, waterways, bridges, and public transit that facilitate travel and commerce, to broadband investments that speed information technology. The Hamilton Project explores innovative proposals to ensure that existing resources are used more efficiently, and prioritize new investment in projects that will have the greatest economic impact.


Related to Infrastructure

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Financing U.S. Transportation Infrastructure in the 21st Century

Papers • May 2015 • Roger C. Altman, Aaron Klein, Alan B. Krueger

The nation’s transportation infrastructure, it is widely agreed, is eroding and in need of long-term, innovative policy solutions and adequate investment. In this discussion paper, Roger Altman, Aaron Klein, and Alan Krueger propose improvement and expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) lending program, reauthorization of Build America Bonds, better utilization of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and reform of the federal gas tax.

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2015 State of the Union Address

Papers • January 2015

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama emphasized the need to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American: especially low- and middle-income citizens.  The Hamilton Project highlights policy proposals that are most relevant to the goals and ideas explicitly promoted in the speech and reflective of the current policy context. These proposals offer smart, actionable ways forward on each of the particular policy goals. 

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The Path to Water Innovation

Papers • October 2014 • Newsha Ajami, Barton “Buzz” Thompson, David Victor

The United States’ aging water infrastructure will be increasingly strained by population growth, economic expansion, and the effects of climate change. In this Hamilton Project paper, Newsha K. Ajami, Barton H. Thompson, Jr., and David G. Victor suggest that solutions to the country’s growing water challenges lie, in part, with the development and adoption of new innovative technologies. The authors present three policy and regulation recommendations to facilitate greater innovation in the water sector.

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Unlocking Spectrum Value through Improved Allocation, Assignment, and Adjudication of Spectrum Rights

Papers • March 2014 • J. Pierre de Vries, Phil J. Weiser

In a new Hamilton Project Discussion Paper, J. Pierre de Vries and Philip J. Weiser propose further reforms to move spectrum regulation away from its “command-and-control” regime to allow for a more-efficient allocation of spectrum resources.  De Vries and Weiser propose three distinct but complementary lines of reform. 

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The Economic Promise of Wireless Spectrum

Papers • March 2014 • Benjamin H. Harris, Melissa S. Kearney

In a new policy memo, The Hamilton Project highlights four policy challenges hampering the economic potential of wireless spectrum and opportunities to address these challenges through innovative, evidence-driven approaches to reform.

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address

Papers • January 2014

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke of a “breakthrough year for America” and foreshadowed a “year of action.” He focused on ways to expand opportunities for Americans by enhancing employment and education options for low-and middle-income citizens, developing more robust worker training programs, investing in America through infrastructure investments and energy innovation, the importance of making progress on immigration reform, and more. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to addressing many of the policy priorities set forth in the Presidents address.

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Reforming Federal Support for Risky Development

Papers • February 2013 • David R. Conrad, Edward A. Thomas

David Conrad and Ed Thomas explore how the National Flood Insurance Program and other federal disaster relief programs could be reformed to better align the costs and benefits of living in disaster-prone areas and help put the budget on more sound footing. This proposal aims to reduce budget costs of natural disasters and reduce risk to life and property of Americans living in disaster-prone areas.

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Funding Transportation Infrastructure with User Fees

Papers • February 2013 • Jack Basso, Tyler Duvall

Investments in infrastructure are essential for a vital economy. Tyler Duvall and Jack Basso suggest looking to user fees as a way to raise revenues, reduce congestion on major roadways, reduce pollution, and promote wiser infrastructure investments.

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the State of the Union Address

Papers • February 2013

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious second-term agenda focusing on policies to help strengthen America’s middle class through broad-based economic growth. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to address many of the priorities set forth in this year’s address, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President this week.

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Leveling the Playing Field for Natural Gas in Transportation

Papers • June 2012 • Christopher R. Knittel

Domestic natural gas is both cleaner and more affordable than oil, making it an attractive and practical alternative. In a new Hamilton Project paper, Christopher R. Knittel of MIT proposes a series of steps to promote natural gas in transportation.

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Tax Revenue Collected on a Gallon of Gasoline by State, January 2015

May 7, 2015 • Charts

Federal taxes, which are constant across states, amount to 18.4 cents per gallon—of which 15.44 cents go to the highway portion of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), 2.86 cents to the mass transit portion of the HTF, and 0.1 cent to maintaining underground storage tanks). State taxes on gasoline vary considerably.

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Average Loss per Passenger Ride by U.S. Metro Rail System, 2013

May 7, 2015 • Charts

Of the more than 1,800 mass transit systems in the United States—including those running trains, buses, or other transport modes—roughly 2 percent reported that fare revenue exceeded operating expenses in 2013. 

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Highway Trust Fund Balance, 1957–2013

May 7, 2015 • Charts

The Highway Trust Fund (HTF), established by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, was the first dedicated funding source for highway construction and maintenance. For most of its history, the HTF was well in the black. Over the past fifteen years, however, expenditures have routinely exceeded revenues.

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Public Infrastructure Spending, 1956-2014

May 7, 2015 • Charts

Public infrastructure spending from all levels of government totaled $416 billion in 2014—$41 billion (9 percent) less than its peak of $457 billion in 2003.

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Public Water and Transportation Spending by State and Local Governments

February 25, 2011 • Charts

State and local governments provide most of the funding for critical infrastructure systems, but spending has declined over the last 50 years.

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Financing 21st Century Infrastructure in the United States

May 11, 2015 • Washington, DC

On May 11, as part of Infrastructure Week, The Hamilton Project and Building America’s Future  co-hosted a public forum discussing the challenges of U.S. infrastructure financing and potential policy solutions. Policymakers and experts joined in two panel discussions, including former Governor Ed Rendell, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Congressman John Delaney, Alan Krueger of Princeton University, and Roger Altman of Evecore, among others.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy

October 20, 2014 • Palo Alto, CA

Water is critical to America’s social, economic, and ecological well-being. Yet, more than 70 percent of the western United States is in the grip of an ongoing drought that shows no signs of ending. On October 20th, The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum and released new papers highlighting opportunities for improving water management in the United States in the face of scarce water supplies. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg gave welcoming remarks, followed by an introduction and roadmap of the event by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. 

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Wireless Spectrum and the Future of Technology Innovation

March 24, 2014 • Washington, DC

On March 24th, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum addressing key challenges with the allocation and regulation of wireless spectrum. The event featured keynote remarks by FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler.

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State Roads to Economic Recovery: Policies, Pavements, and Partnerships

February 25, 2011 • Washington, DC

The Hamilton Project and the Metropolitan Policy Program held a forum focused on state strategies that can help close budget deficits while also growing state economies and creating much-needed jobs. As part of the event, The Hamilton Project released three new policy papers, as well as a strategy paper, focused on helping state and local governments invest more efficiently in infrastructure to ensure long-term economic competitiveness. 

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Investing in America’s Infrastructure: From Bridges to Broadband

July 25, 2008 • Washington, DC

Governor Tim Kaine joined Robert E. Rubin and Lawrence H. Summers in the opening session of a Hamilton Project public forum on the need for a national strategy that promotes infrastructure as a central component of long-term, broadly shared growth.

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Easing the Traffic Jam Through Congestion Pricing

April 1, 2008 • Washington, DC

David Lewis outlined his new Hamilton Project paper on the merits and potential barriers to congestion pricing as a tool for combating urban gridlock at an event co-sponsored with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

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Financing 21st Century Infrastructure in the United States: Welcome and Panel 1 Video

May 11, 2015 • Video

On May 11, as part of Infrastructure Week, The Hamilton Project and Building America’s Future hosted a public forum discussing the challenges of U.S. infrastructure financing and potential policy solutions. In conjunction with this event, The Hamilton Project released a new paper by Roger Altman of Evercore, Alan Krueger of Princeton University, and Aaron Klein of the Bipartisan Policy Center that proposes a multi-pronged approach to increase investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Krueger and Klein were joined in a panel discussion by Congressman John Delaney and Tyler Duvall of McKinesey & Company. Hamilton Project director Melissa Kearney moderated the discussion.

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Financing 21st Century Infrastructure in the United States: Panel 2 Video

May 11, 2015 • Video

On May 11, as part of Infrastructure Week, The Hamilton Project and Building America’s Future hosted a public forum discussing the challenges of U.S. infrastructure financing and potential policy solutions. In conjunction with this event, The Hamilton Project released a new paper by Roger Altman of Evercore, Alan Krueger of Princeton University, and Aaron Klein of the Bipartisan Policy Center that proposes a multi-pronged approach to increase investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Krueger and Klein were joined in a panel discussion by Congressman John Delaney and Tyler Duvall of McKinesey & Company. Hamilton Project director Melissa Kearney moderated the discussion.

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Financing 21st Century Infrastructure in the United States: Panel 2 Audio

May 11, 2015 • Audio

On May 11, as part of Infrastructure Week, The Hamilton Project and Building America’s Future hosted a public forum discussing the challenges of U.S. infrastructure financing and potential policy solutions. In conjunction with this event, The Hamilton Project released a new paper by Roger Altman of Evercore, Alan Krueger of Princeton University, and Aaron Klein of the Bipartisan Policy Center that proposes a multi-pronged approach to increase investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Krueger and Klein were joined in a panel discussion by Congressman John Delaney and Tyler Duvall of McKinesey & Company. Hamilton Project director Melissa Kearney moderated the discussion.

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Financing 21st Century Infrastructure in the United States: Event Photos

May 11, 2015 • Photo Galleries

On May 11, as part of Infrastructure Week, The Hamilton Project and Building America’s Future  co-hosted a public forum discussing the challenges of U.S. infrastructure financing and potential policy solutions. Policymakers and experts joined in two panel discussions, including former Governor Ed Rendell, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Congressman John Delaney, Alan Krueger of Princeton University, and Roger Altman of Evecore, among others.

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Financing 21st Century Infrastructure in the United States: Welcome and Panel 1 Audio

May 11, 2015 • Audio

On May 11, as part of Infrastructure Week, The Hamilton Project and Building America’s Future hosted a public forum discussing the challenges of U.S. infrastructure financing and potential policy solutions. The first panel focused on the challenges and opportunities in U.S. infrastructure. The panelists included Secretary Anthony Foxx of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Roger Altman of Evercore, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Governor Edward Rendell, and was moderated by Al Hunt of Bloomberg.

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Tax Revenue Collected on a Gallon of Gasoline by State, January 2015

May 7, 2015 • Charts

Federal taxes, which are constant across states, amount to 18.4 cents per gallon—of which 15.44 cents go to the highway portion of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), 2.86 cents to the mass transit portion of the HTF, and 0.1 cent to maintaining underground storage tanks). State taxes on gasoline vary considerably.

charts Icon

Average Loss per Passenger Ride by U.S. Metro Rail System, 2013

May 7, 2015 • Charts

Of the more than 1,800 mass transit systems in the United States—including those running trains, buses, or other transport modes—roughly 2 percent reported that fare revenue exceeded operating expenses in 2013. 

charts Icon

Highway Trust Fund Balance, 1957–2013

May 7, 2015 • Charts

The Highway Trust Fund (HTF), established by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, was the first dedicated funding source for highway construction and maintenance. For most of its history, the HTF was well in the black. Over the past fifteen years, however, expenditures have routinely exceeded revenues.

charts Icon

Public Infrastructure Spending, 1956-2014

May 7, 2015 • Charts

Public infrastructure spending from all levels of government totaled $416 billion in 2014—$41 billion (9 percent) less than its peak of $457 billion in 2003.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Panel 2 Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

Solutions to the country’s growing water challenges lie, in part, with the development and adoption of new innovative technologies, suggests the authors of a new paper for The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. On October 20th, the co-author Buzz Thompson of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment presented a new proposal to spur water innovation, and was joined in a roundtable discussion by Tamin Pechet of Banyan Water, Michael Markus of the Orange County Water District, and Peter Yolles of Water Smart Software. Roger Altman of Evercore moderated the discussion.

Hamilton Project Updates

A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.