Financial District: Slow motion meltdown
U.S. leaders and policy makers must help Americans recognize the nation’s relatively affluent standard of living cannot be sustained on infrastructure systems planned and built during the mid–20th century, when the country had only half its current population, says the report.
“Most highway and road building was heavily funded by federal and state dollars decades ago, when the country’s economy operated on a high-octane growth curve, and now the bills come due with mounting repairs and resurfacing requirements on countless miles of serpentine asphalt.”
Recession-busted government budgets, entitlement and defense expenditures, and ballooning health care costs push infrastructure down most political priority lists. “Leaders continue to procrastinate when it comes to new investment as stressed taxpayers balk at more spending,” says the report.
Infrastructure 2010 recommends that government officials and policy experts take effective action, including the following:
Level with the American people about how the country is falling behind other economies as a result of underinvesting in infrastructure, and explain the true costs of making required upgrades and building new systems.
Determine a national vision for infrastructure improvements that supports the viability of the nation’s key metropolitan areas and national gateways – the places that increasingly concentrate economic activity and propel growth.
Move toward merit rather than formulas in allocating federal funding to state and local governments for infrastructure, and encourage integrated infrastructure, environment and land use planning.
Establish a national infrastructure bank modeled on Europe’s success, which can help promote more investment-grade decision-making and attract more private capital into infrastructure investments.
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