Context - Fall 2016 - 25


Schuylkill Banks

fairly "new" system that has suffered from years of deferred investment,
to see how a failure to maintain can yield bad outcomes in terms of
safety and reliability.  Without maintenance, infrastructure loses its value,
and the initial spending is wasted.  One approach to maintenance is to
sustain it poorly and then simply rebuild, but that approach usually comes
with a higher price tag than building well and preserving over the years. 
That is because steady maintenance can greatly extend the useful life of
infrastructure, delaying the time before rebuilding becomes necessary.
Due to its substantial expense, paying for infrastructure is significant. 
Ultimately, the choice of how to pay for infrastructure affects how
much is built, how it is used, and what it looks like. For many projects,
it is possible to get users to pay for some or all of the investments.  For
example, much of the electricity, telecommunications and water infrastructure is entirely paid for by the users of these investments.  Some
road projects, such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the bridges over
the Delaware River, are also fully funded by user fees.  User fees are
appropriate economically because they tie the burden of paying for
infrastructure tightly to the beneficiaries of the infrastructure.  User
fees also limit usage to the people who value something enough that
it is worth paying for.  It is not practical or appropriate to charge for

all infrastructure.  For example, charging for the use of sidewalks or
access to Fairmount parks is not likely to be a good idea.  Also, for
public transportation, there are significant external benefits to using
SETPA, such as decreased congestion on roads, decreased greenhouse
gas emissions, and increased property values near stations, that justify
charging less than the full cost of a trip.
How much infrastructure costs to use also influences how much is
used, and hence how much must be built.  For example, if electricity
were free, people would heat their houses with electric heat, requiring
many more electricity generating stations and transmission towers than
we have now.  Roads are a good example of under-priced infrastructure. 
Most roads are free to drive on, so the cost of policing and maintain them
falls on the general public (Roads in general are heavily subsidized and
users do not pay anything close to the full cost of building, maintaining
and policing them).  People who do not use roads very much subsidize
the people who use roads a lot, and everyone uses roads more than they
would if the cost to use a road more accurately reflected its true cost. 
The amount of infrastructure needed is a critical question. Overbuilding
causes problems because of required maintenance.  If we built enough
lanes of highways so that at the peak of the peak, all the roads were
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2016 25



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Context - Fall 2016

Editors’ Letter
Community
Up Close
Expression
Design Profiles
Marketplace
Index to Advertisers
Mayor Kenney’s Infrastructure Policy
Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia: The Reading Viaduct Rail Park
Streets: They’re Not Just for Cars Any More
Context - Fall 2016 - ebelly1
Context - Fall 2016 - ebelly2
Context - Fall 2016 - cover1
Context - Fall 2016 - cover2
Context - Fall 2016 - 3
Context - Fall 2016 - 4
Context - Fall 2016 - Editors’ Letter
Context - Fall 2016 - Community
Context - Fall 2016 - 7
Context - Fall 2016 - 8
Context - Fall 2016 - 9
Context - Fall 2016 - Up Close
Context - Fall 2016 - 11
Context - Fall 2016 - Mayor Kenney’s Infrastructure Policy
Context - Fall 2016 - 13
Context - Fall 2016 - 14
Context - Fall 2016 - 15
Context - Fall 2016 - Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia: The Reading Viaduct Rail Park
Context - Fall 2016 - 17
Context - Fall 2016 - 18
Context - Fall 2016 - 19
Context - Fall 2016 - Streets: They’re Not Just for Cars Any More
Context - Fall 2016 - 21
Context - Fall 2016 - 22
Context - Fall 2016 - 23
Context - Fall 2016 - 24
Context - Fall 2016 - 25
Context - Fall 2016 - 26
Context - Fall 2016 - 27
Context - Fall 2016 - Expression
Context - Fall 2016 - 29
Context - Fall 2016 - Design Profiles
Context - Fall 2016 - 31
Context - Fall 2016 - 32
Context - Fall 2016 - 33
Context - Fall 2016 - 34
Context - Fall 2016 - 35
Context - Fall 2016 - 36
Context - Fall 2016 - Marketplace
Context - Fall 2016 - Index to Advertisers
Context - Fall 2016 - cover3
Context - Fall 2016 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0316
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0415
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0315
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com