A NEW SERIES: ONE 2 ONE WITH SOME OF THE MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS
Better Roads Staff
Even broader. Let’s take another example … let’s use a simple one, say a new country road cut through to two small communities, where the county specs come out only digitally; the latitude, longitude and altitude are already provided in there to the millimeter. So you bid the job that way, you enter it into your machine and you stand back and watch it go. Think about the fuel efficiency and CO2 footprint on something like that. That is happening today. We are on the edge of this. But when you multiply it out, think what can happen. Here’s another message for contractors: Imagine the early adopters of this – they’ll blow everybody away because you won’t be able to compete with them when you’re cutting three times. There’s a tremendous pull for this and we are spending a lot of time and money on it; we are on the verge of it and using it already on some jobsites today. This is coming, and it’s sooner rather than later.
How physically damaged is the infrastructure that we have?
I am not one who believes our infrastructure is past the point of no return. I do believe our infrastructure is too antiquated to be competitive in many cases and most ports are in that category, most airports are in that category, our river system is certainly in that category. The Interstate highway system is, while probably not adequate for the amount of traffic we have, not as bad. Having said that, I don’t think that matters, because if we want jobs in this country, we’ve got to look at our competition … because if we are not upgrading and competing, it’s not going to matter if you are one lane behind or two. In this competitive world, if you are not going to lead, you are in trouble.
Will transportation infrastructure still be a job-intensive industry?
Oh yeah, definitely. We will get fewer labor hours per mile. That’s been a long-term trend, but it’s still a fairly intensive industry. When you go upstream in the supply chain to aggregate producers and cement producers and steel producers, it’s a pretty labor-intensive industry. It will be more efficient, but it will still have a lot of labor content.
You are an optimistic thinker about our future?
I am. I’ve got to be in this job.
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