I am in agreement with homesteadpatch and onegoodwoman (where do you all find these names--nothing wrong with them, just don't understand why people do not use their real names).
The cost of building was much cheaper, the environmentalists did not get in the way of every project, needed projects were built and there was an united spirit aimed at conquering the depression and winning the war.
Everything is more expensive. Every project is a political battle over "what my district got or did not get); some environmentalists will stop projects without proper case and we have more people in the country using the existing facilities, making it harder and more expensive to expand and up grade.
We do spend money on other things--but some are necessary--Medicare, national defense, environmental projection, regulation of business and industry, regulation of health and safety standards in the work place (a lot of people died building the Hoover Dam and other projects like that) and we are fighting wars all over the world.
We can spend less money on somethings but not everything. Also it is easier to build a house than to completely remodel a house while still living in it and that is the approach we have to take with many projects. The WPA and PWA were created to create jobs. I had a uncle in the CCC, civil conservation corps. It was like a military group that planted trees. He got $5 a week and $3 of that was sent home to his family-no choice in the matter. That is not going to happen today.
But, being 60 I have seen a lot of change in this country over the years. I remember seeing men without legs on rolling carts selling pencils at local shopping centers. They were veterans of WWII. Our vets still should be treated better than they are, but most are not on the streets begging. I drive on the interstate every day and take pride in knowing we were first to land on the moon, which among other things lead to the development of the personal computer. We have come a long way. We are a little off track right now, but we will eventually get on the right path.