“Although transportation-focused efforts encourage business development in some areas, they often have a negative impact on the vitality of downtown areas, existing business districts and adjacent neighborhoods. While better roads improve access and can reduce isolation, they cannot by themselves transform failing schools or resolve long-standing community conflicts.”
The second problem is that highway construction comes with a heavy opportunity cost. Money spent on highways may not be immediately transferrable to other purposes, but the increasing amount of general fund money now being funneled into highways in the United States is money that could clearly be spent on other, more pressing needs. Most Rust Belt metropolitan areas have been stagnating in population for decades, with levels of traffic congestion that may be annoying but are unlikely to get much worse. Meanwhile, crises in education, housing, opioid addiction, the fiscal viability of local governments, and the basic maintenance of streets and other public infrastructure cry out for resources and attention.