Think-tank friends in Rhode Island told me, police there are required by law to be at construction projects which, I’ve surmised, involve roadways. Thus, as I walked about Providence this week, I saw Men in Blue (with green vests) reading, talking on their cell phones or just standing there while nearby construction workers poured sidewalk cement or made street repairs. At one neighborhood location, a policeman actually directed some traffic, and bantered with the workers. This law unnecessarily drives up the cost of such projects (e.g. taxpayers pay a higher price for the work). Further, there is a social cost of having police do what civilian flaggers can do, like in Oregon. So, the next time you see a flagger in Oregon, smile. And know that we could further reduce the cost of government construction projects by also repealing the state’s prevailing wage laws.