The Obama Administration proposes infrastructure investment — and the news media is filled with stories of under-performing high-speed rail lines in China, built with shoddy concrete.
Now will Spain, which also built an expansive transport network, get the “China” treatment?
Signs abound that Spain has not fully learned the lessons of its profligate spending. Spain recently announced a high-speed rail link to the sparsely populated northwest region of Galicia, a plan many economists see as an extravagance. Bridge and highway projects are plowing forward in the face of criticism that Spain just can’t afford them.
Now, it is true that Spain built an excess of airport facilities (a lot of countries did). But highways and High-Speed rail lines? It would be hard to argue those investments were not frugal. For what the US spends on 1 mile of light-rail, Spain is able to tunnel 1-2 miles of subway. And until the financial crash, the Spanish government was running a respectable budget surplus.