The NY Times discovers the fiscal future facing the states as they begin to deal with the deferred maintenance. And it's not just roads and bridges. You have major public buildings, especially schools, that have been playing the same game as families that put off those dental appointments because they just don't have the money right now or because they want to spend on trinket after trinket instead. As my mouth of porcelain will proof, eventually you have to pay the piper, which is even worse when the dollars are dropping. But infrastructure isn't the only concern, maybe they'll learn. Because of developing results of weather changes, states are seeing new costs come online, like lack of funding to pay for firefighting in CA or the deferred water systems in the South that now have that region sucking air for their nuke plants as well as their farms and cities.
I was on a school board for nine years and started my career as a state budget analyst for the state colleges and universities. You learn the concept of "opportunity costs" quickly, even if you've never had an econ class. You also learn how stove-piped every public interest is, their advocates either unaware or uncaring about how their demands, if met, would mean less for other interests. I saw it with educators in both instances, and it's a mantra for way too many people in corrections sentencing. Judges and others denying that costs are a factor when punishing when EVERY sentence is a BUDGET DECISION. You can't put a price on justice? Fine. Find some other way to get across that river. Tell that poor kid with great talent and intelligence that s/he has no chance to advance. Eat that hamburger or sprouts knowing there's only one guy available to check the safety. Look forward to not being able to pay for your medicine when that day comes. THOSE are the prices of that justice. Maybe that justice is worth the tradeoff, but don't pretend you're not cutting into other people who have legit claims and needs as well. What makes you better than them? Don't want to go there? Then start thinking before you speak.
These kinds of stories are going to be more and more the norm over the next several years. If we're going to avoid going too far in the other direction, diverting too many resources away from what we do, we need to start planning, to start developing those more cost-effective and victim-effective alternatives for the people who can be stopped from committing more crime better than prisons do, to recognize that opportunity costs exist and we might not always have the highest priority. Waiting just risks decisions that will truly jeopardize public safety. Those potential victims deserve better.