American metropolises have sprawled outward for several decades now, and we all know the narrative. Cities lost population while their suburban counterparts grew. While many viewed these boom times as progress, it is now becoming evident that the decision to sprawl outward was a short-sighted policy decision, and is costing American taxpayers dearly. More from CNN:
Every time a new, spread-out subdivision is built far away from existing infrastructure, somebody has to pay for a bunch of roads that serve a small number of residents. And sewer and water lines too. And fire trucks that must travel farther to serve fewer people. And police cars. And ambulances. And school buses. And dial-a-ride buses. And – in many parts of the country – snowplows.
The cost is enormous…Cities can sometimes stay in the black temporarily by approving new development and getting new revenue to pay for the costs. But that’s really just a Ponzi scheme…Balanced budgets don’t just happen. They happen because someone took the time upfront to check the costs and to evaluate what we can afford and what will add the most value.