Would love comments on this piece. Not posting full text because it relies on a table that can’t be replicated here, and the piece won’t make much sense without it.

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Agree: “Good governance matters more than interest rates.”

Pairs well with a point I think you made elsewhere, that we spend trillions on infrastructure (e.g., in the recent infrastructure bill) without focusing on how to get more out of those dollars.

Related, the Transit Costs Project (which Alon Levy works on) just released some case studies.

Side note: I dislike the term “state capacity,” because it conflates the scope of government and its effectiveness. In a context like this, I'd be inclined to use a term like “efficiency” or “cost-effectiveness” (which will be understood by more people anyway).

+1 to the term "state capacity," I ultimately understood what you meant, but it took a close reading.  

Also, great article. 

I agree that the article is kind of hard to follow because the concept of state capacity doesn't feel natural in the article, (this is more a stylistic issue than a conceptual one) when what is meant is something more like regulatory cost-multipliers.

If your audience is a little more left-coded, then 'state capacity' is a term more likely to generate agreement than talking about regulatory costs to efficiency, which sounds more libertarian.

I think I would have started the article with an arresting breakdown of how much of a project's cost were caused by financing, and then used that to show that even low interest rates can't help the impossibility of building even modest sized projects in the US at decent cost. The cost of financing is a big deal in multi-year projects, so creating policies on how to get things done when interest rates are higher is a big deal.

Now I'm wondering if there is a correlation between low interest rates and regulation. Do low interest rates crowd out low-cost construction, by decreasing the cost of regulation?