Picking up on the ongoing debate about whether to build light rail in Pinellas, I ask advocates of such a program if building infrastructure is the key to economic development, why doesn’t that work in Europe?
Some of the most troubled economies in Europe are chok full of rail and infrastructure designed by the government to foster economic development yet:
“If building great roads and trains were the route to lasting prosperity, Greece and Spain would be booming. The past 30 years have seen a huge splurge in infrastructure spending, often funded by the EU. The Athens metro is excellent. The AVE fast-trains in Spain are a marvel. But this kind of spending has done very little to change the fundamental problems that now plague both Greece and Spain – in particular, youth unemployment. Worse, in some ways, EU funding for infrastructure has created problems. In Greece, milking the EU for subsidies became an industry in itself: and political connections were a surer route to wealth than entrepreneurial flair.”