Given the collapse of revenues for municipal, regional, state/provincial, and federal governments due to containment measures necessary to combat the spread of COVID-19, would something along the lines of a managed paring-down of city infrastructure needs be in order?
I know that the cool-aid is already being poured for the central planners who are preparing to send money to every 'shovel-ready' Cinderella out there. Cities in BC, Canada, are being asked to submit their lists of shovel-ready projects as we speak and one engineer I spoke with complained that the stuff being placed on those lists is neither essential nor all that desirable but it meets the criteria outlined by the feds. Chapter 4 and 5 does a great job explaining how this is a continuation of the madness.
"The accumulated weight of negative-returning investments will weigh us down, forcing us to divert more and more of our resources from things that could improve our lives to sustaining systems that never will" (p. 79)
In Jacobin, Doug Henwood argued, "In simple English, the public sector is barely investing enough to keep up with normal decay, let alone doing anything to improve things." (p. 79)
As a thought experiment, I'm trying to envision the way that a Strong Towns inspired project selection would go.
Project 1: Depaving 400 km of lightly-travelled and low-tax-base roads. By removing the asphalt surfacing and employing a crew of grader operators, our municipality will relieve itself of a sizable future liability that would come down when these roads break down while also sending a clear signal that periphery development is unsustainable at the current form of built-out-servicing
Project 2: Ditch digging along 300 km of newly depaved roads where current sewage systems are overbuilt for future demand that will not materialize as we'd hoped. These drainage ditches will allow us more of a buffer for storm water collection by doubling as holding reservoirs. These drainage ditches will allow us to turn off four of our pumps and decommission the two oldest ones because we will not need the added pumping capacity for stormwater events.