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Infrastructure Project Prioritization in Theory and Practice

TitleInfrastructure Project Prioritization in Theory and Practice
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBennon, M, Sharma, R
InstitutionFarm Foundation
Keywordsbenefit-cost analysis, infrastructure investment, infrastructure policy, infrastructure prioritization

The 2011 congressional ban on earmarks for infrastructure projects formally transferred responsibility for prioritizing federal infrastructure investments to the executive branch, and has redoubled the importance of how, exactly, the federal government evaluates and selects infrastructure projects that will receive federal funding. The Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) study is one such method of evaluating and prioritizing infrastructure projects or other policy alternatives which has been widely studied in literature and largely adopted by U.S. federal agencies. Despite their renewed and significant impact on the selection of infrastructure projects, however, the use and applications of BCAs in the U.S. varies significantly between sectors, agencies and levels of government. In this paper, we review the BCA and other project prioritization policies in U.S. federal agencies and compare them with other, international programs in the comparable economies of Australia and Canada.

Keywords: infrastructure investment, benefit-cost analysis, infrastructure prioritization, infrastructure policy

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