In historical terms, large sums have been invested in the infrastructure, and if we look forward, many countries plan to invest large sums in infrastructure. However, the allocation of large sums is not a guarantee that it is sufficient and that the resources are used in the best way. In a large and growing economy, transport is of central importance. Passengers and goods needs to be transported to and from a country and also within the country. If transports do not work it affects the economy negatively.
Total volume of investments is important but equally important is how the resources are distributed. Firstly, it is the distribution between new investments and operations and maintenance, secondly the regional distribution and, thirdly, the distribution of motivated projects and less motivated projects. As regards the former, it can be noted that operation and maintenance have gained importance, however often operation and maintenance is often neglected. It is important to care for the infrastructure stock. Regarding the regional distribution, it is somewhat more worrying. In many countries the knowledge intensive economy have become increasingly important and the knowledge economy thrives in our central and major cities. Historically, the major cities in particular have not received such a large proportion of infrastructure investments as the importance of these cityregions justify. The result is queues in the road system and shortcomings in public transport. In recent years, major cities have gained importance, but as cities are expected to develop strongly in the coming decades, it is important that there is still a big city focus. A potentially big problem is the distribution of socio-economically motivated infrastructure initiatives and socio-economic unprofitable ventures. To often and often of due to political decisions less motivated infrastructure investments are built. Here is an improvement potential. If you replace the unprofitable investments against the profitable ones socio-economic profitability would increase It is therefore important that resources are used for the right investments.
There are also other dimensions that may be relevant to highlight. One such is that the production of new infrastructure is characterized by low productivity. This becomes clear when looking at price developments in road and rail investments, which have risen considerably higher than in the economy in general. In addition to this, there are also some "invisible" costs from infrastructure investments. A big "cost" is whether transport-infrastructure projects take a long time to complete, which will affect many travelers negatively for a long time. If this venture can be carried out more quickly than planned, life for many daily travelers will be facilitated. Another cost is how well the use of existing infrastructure is maximised. Here are many examples, but it is clear that stations often can develop significantly better than is the case today. Take, for example, subway stations. Those who operate the subway systems do not always have the incentive to maximize housing development, commercial development and development in workplaces directly adjacent to the stations, nor pick out all the values that could be realized by increasing the densification of positions with high accessibility. Often they are only interested in the operating the transport system and not in maximizing all the values the transport system creates. This in turn implies a suboptimal use of infrastructure.
Overall. Infrastructure is important and there is every reason to maximize all the benefits of the infrastructure.