From safe, efficient highways, to ubiquitous high speed internet, to effective passenger rail, the United States hasn't lived up to its history of building and maintaining cutting edge infrastructure.
Here we explore six essential questions about infrastructure. Don’t just read this brief; engage with it, providing feedback along the way. Your voice will shape the conversation, define the issues, and help the community drive meaningful change across our nation.
Where do we stand?
A crumbling infrastructure, a lack of innovation
There's been a lot of talk about developing sustainable energy sources, improving our highways, providing a world-class technical infrastructure for business and individuals, and learning from other countries where fast, convenient public transit is the norm - but little progress has been made. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives us a GPA of D+, with a needed investment of $3.6 trillion by 2020. The experts tell us that reliable funding streams, long term planning for sustainability and resilience, and a commitment to both innovation and maintenance are essential for us to provide for the health, safety and prosperity of all Americans.
Are you onboard? Join the movement:
Where are we headed?
A glimpse at our future
Without a strategic approach to assessing our infrastructure issues and identification of the critical projects which can benefit all of us - as well as full engagement by government, experts and citizens on these essential questions - our economic stability is at risk. Individual Americans increasingly take on the burden of expensive commutes (whether by road, rail or air); inflated costs and insufficient availability of broadband; and rising heating, cooling and electricity bills.
Experts are encouraging us to see infrastructure expenditures as an opportunity - to support commerce, increase employment and improve the environment. It's time to take a glass half full approach to our infrastructure needs.
Watch this video from McKinsey & Co.'s Rethinking Infrastructure Series to learn more
What's at stake?
Federal, State, Local: Where Does The Buck Stop?
Infrastructure projects are large, and the cost of development increasingly falls on the states. Fivethirtyeight.com notes that public spending is at 1.5% of GDP - the lowest since 1993. And as of April 2014, 90% of public spending was at the state level. We risk the failure of our cities as states struggle to keep infrastructure from crumbling, and increasing burden on the private sector as transportation, energy and technology costs increase - while service continues to decrease.
What are the core
issues & challenges?
A multifaceted approach to reform
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- The Internet
- Show Us The Money
- The Regulatory Environment
- The White House reported in 2014 that Americans spend 5.5 billion hours in traffic per year, and businesses spend an extra $27 billion per year due to freight delays.
- A 2013 Pew study found that 70% of Americans had broadband access at home - but distribution wasn't even. 74% of whites had access, while rates were 62% for African American homes and 56% for Hispanic homes.
- The implications of slow innovation in the energy sector are extraordinarily far-reaching, from climate issues to business interruptions to health and safety concerns.
- Infrastructure projects are big, and move at a speed not in sync with a political process run amuck. Funding streams which recognize the need to provide resources for the long haul are essential to success.
- Our current regulatory structures need improvement in both directions - affording more structure and control where needed while getting out of the way as appropriate to facilitate innovation.
How can you help move
the nation forward?
A call to every American
Without your help and the support of citizens like you we’ll never move far enough or fast enough on Infrastructure. What can you do today to help?
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