Highway investment is widely regarded by both policy makers and analysts as an effective tool for promoting regional economic development. Accordingly, 24 states have established special programs under which highway investments are undertaken for the explicit purpose of fostering economic development. Furthermore, even when economic development is not the stated goal of highway investment, the effect of such investment on a state's economic development is nevertheless a major concern of policymakers. Highway planners throughout the nation therefore face the questions of how to define, measure, and evaluate the economic development effects of highway investment. The broad objective of this study is to provide the best available answers to these questions. These answers must be based on a sound understanding of what economic development is and how it is affected by highway and other infrastructure investment.
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