No less an economic theorist than Adam Smith believed government could do few things more important than building roads.
A robust transportation infrastructure “account the greatest of all improvements,” Smith wrote in the Wealth of Nations. “They encourage the cultivation of the remote…They are advantageous to the town, by breaking down the monopoly of the country in its neighbourhood. They are advantageous even to that part of the country. Though they introduce some rival commodities into the old market, they open many new markets to its produce.”