Rapid Response: The Road Less Traveled By


July 16, 2014 11:27AM

The Wall Street Journal just released a new study that ranks the quality of roads and bridges in each state. Tennessee finished near the top in both categories. Only 6 percent of the roads in Tennessee are in “poor condition,” while in (liberal) states like Rhode Island and Connecticut, over 40 percent of the roads are in “poor condition.” Many people on the Left believe that if you have low taxes (Tennessee has no state income tax), you can’t have solid infrastructure. Yet this study turns that logic on its head. Despite Tennessee having the lowest debt per capita in the nation, we have still been able to maintain roads and bridges better than many states who have spent more money, so why is that? There are two reasons. First, we have a pay-as-you-go system for funding transportation, which is more fiscally responsible and reduces future liabilities. Put simply, we don’t pay for things we can’t afford. And second, it’s illegal for politicians to raid the transportation fund for unrelated projects, which ensures that those resources go to building and maintaining our transportation infrastructure. The lesson here is that fiscally responsible spending generally leads to better results and that just blindly throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily solve the problem (see education, but that’s for another post). -Mark Cunningham