This article considers major infrastructure spending projects on the table in California (a high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, a peripheral canal in the Sacramento Delta, higher education) and compares their funding models to that of the Los Angeles Aqueducts. Whereas William Mulholland convinced Angelenos in 1905 to pay for the aqueduct for the benefit of future residents, modern California voters are more likely to insist infrastructure is paid for with a mix of public and private investment, or solely by its end users. Hiltzik argues California’s leaders could learn from Mulholland, whose foresight, adept campaigning, and willingness to shade the truth benefited millions of people.
Learning from the LA Aqueduct: It’s getting harder to sell the future in California
Michael Hiltzik is a business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of several books, including Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century and The New Deal: A Modern History, and has won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.
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Michael Hiltzik; Learning from the LA Aqueduct: It’s getting harder to sell the future in California. Boom 1 September 2013; 3 (3): 68–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2013.3.3.68
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