Barry Bosworth is a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies for the Brookings Institution and Sveta Milusheva is a Research Assistant at the Brookings Institution, October 2011, “Innovations in U.S. Infrastructure Financing: An Evaluation”, http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2011/10/20%20infrastructure%20financing%20bosworth%20milusheva/1020_infrastructure_financing_bosworth_milusheva.pdf
Their data are limited to public sector investments in transportationand water infrastructure, and do not include estimates of the stock of capital. The share of total public capital investments covered by the CBO data has fallen from about 45 percent in 1960 to 30 percent in 2007. The most important forms of excluded public capital are equipment, buildings, and power; but the CBO definition is closer to the definition of infrastructure used in most research studies. The CBO analysis illustrates two important aspects of infrastructure expenditures. First O&M represents more than half of the total spending on infrastructure, and in some areas, such as mass transit and aviation, the proportion is two-thirds or greater. Infrastructure systems involve much greater costs than just the initial investment to build them.They involve majorcommitments to future operating and repair costs that need to be funded on an ongoing basis. The inclusion of O&M thus highlights a fundamental problem of infrastructure in the United States: the failure to maintain the investments on a timely and efficient basis. There is an underlying bias in the funding of infrastructure in that ‘free money’ (federal grants) is available for new capital investments, but state and local governments must finance the vast bulk of their own O&M costs. Not surprisingly, the result is excess investments in facilities that local governments are not prepared to maintain. In those cases where federal funding is available for maintenance, the amounts are limited and beset by perverse incentives. O&M has represented only 8 percent of total federal grants since 2000. There is a federal program for bridge repair, the Highway Bridge Program (HPB), but priority is given to states with the worst rating of bridge conditions–hardly an incentive for timely maintenance.