Last week, President Obama announced a new plan to spend $50 billion on updating America's infrastructure. That plan included promises of 150,000 miles of rebuilt roads, 4,000 miles of new train tracks and 150 miles of updated runways. With a week to digest what it the plan might mean, people are discussing which projects would be money best spent.
The North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum came up with a list of 21 items that it thinks should be first on the list, selected, "based contribution to local productivity; contribution to global competitiveness; job creation; business opportunity; and energy productivity." The projects range from tunnels in Miami to elevated rail in Detroit, better airports around the country and improved nuclear power plants.
Meanwhile, James Corless, director of Transportation for America, wrote a column where he outlined why Obama's plan for a National Infrastructure Bank is fundamentally different from last year's stimulus plan. Instead, it's a way to find long-term solutions to constant problems:
Of course, if Obama can't get his proposal passed, this is all moot, but the potential here is quite huge. Which projects would you like to see completed?The most important part of President Obama's proposal was encapsulated in one tiny word that went largely unnoticed by most media and cable news outlets: "reform." ...Changing the way we invest in transportation is a prerequisite to spending more money on a system that is broken. Americans support local and state tax increases for transportation at better than a 70% clip but in part because they are much more transparent and accountable; we know exactly what those dollars are going to buy - a new bridge crossing, an expanded metro system, a project to remake a five-lane highway as a safe, complete street for drivers, bikers and walkers. We need to ensure that the federal transportation program has the same sort of accountability so we know what we're getting for our money - something sorely lacking right now.
[Source: Business Insider, Infrastructurist]