Will Railroads Make Us Rich?

Ryan Avent is one of our favorite bloggers.  He explains why he believes railroads will help cities historically reliant on industry maintain stable economies. The trick is to be located near thriving markets -- and be connected by rail.

Ryan cites Baltimore as an example of one such city.  "Baltimore continues to lose people, but its economy is fairly stable, and much of the city has seen significant redevelopment," he writes.

"The reason for the turnaround is proximity to thriving markets. The ability to take advantage of certain aspects of the Washington metropolitan market has strengthened Baltimore. Similarly, New York has generated economic opportunity for much of the northeastern corridor, touching off redevelopment in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. One of the chief lessons of economic geography is that a good way to get rich is to be near other rich places; remoteness is costly. If we could shift all the cities in the Midwest closer to each other, and then pick them up and move then nearer to the northeastern corridor, we would go a long way toward restoring the economic viability of many Midwestern cities."

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