My home state of Rhode Island has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to grabing proposed federal instrastructure stimulus dollars. Although it has been known for weeks if not months that Barack Obama was ready to throw hundreds of billions of dollars at historically inefficient and mob-influenced infrastructure projects, the State of Rhode Island only assigned someone to create a wish list just a few days ago.

The wish-list considers a project “shovel-ready” if it can be put out to bid in 180 days, which means no jobs will be created anytime soon even if funding is provided. At best, the shovel would go into the ground on these projects in about a year.

Some of the projects on the wish list could be called necessary “infrastructure” projects, such as some local bridge replacements or repairs, which would be done even without the stimulus handouts. Others are projects that no one locally wants to pay for. Here’s a sample:

  • bike path and park construction
  • statewide highway crack filling
  • bridge painting and cleaning
  • highway landscaping
  • sidewalk repair to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act

These projects may be worthwhile, but they won’t create any long-term jobs. Once the park is landscaped, or the bike path built, the jobs disappear. Contrast this with policies which lower the cost for businesses to operate (e.g., lowering taxes), allow businesses to grow, and create long-term jobs.