Obama's Infrastructure Spending Could be a "Tragic Waste", Says Kunstler

James Kunstler believes that President-Elect Obama's bid to boost the economy through repairing infrastructure could be more usefully spent on rail and harbors.

"President-elect Obama has announced his intention to kick off a massive 'stimulation' program when he hits the White House 'running' in January. Early indications are that it will be directed at things like highway repair. If so, we will be investing long-term in infrastructure that we probably won't be using the same way in ten years.

Stimulus aimed at perpetuating mass motoring will be a tragic waste of our dwindling resources. We'd be better off aiming it at fixing the railroads (especially electrifying them), refitting our harbors with piers and warehouses in preparation to move more stuff by boats, and in repairing the electric grid. Unfortunately, our tendency will be to try to rescue the totemic touchstones of everyday life, things familiar and comfortable, regardless of whether they have a future or not.

Mr. Obama would be most successful if he could persuade the public how much more severe the required changes are than they currently realize, and inspire them to get with program of retrofitting American life to comply with these realities."

Full Story: People Get Ready



Kunstler Is Half Right

He is certainly right that we should be shifting from highways to rail and harbors.

But for the spending in the stimulus package to come soon enough to have an effect on the recession, it has to be for projects that have completed planning and approval and that are ready to start construction. Unfortunately, most of those are highway projects.

A larger change of direction will take more time, but based on Obama's and Biden's statements, I expect that it will come later in the Obama administration.

Charles Siegel

Obama's Infrastructure Spending

We also need to upgrade the Electrical Grid system including improvements from Icy Weather. While at it improve the Power Plants too. The concrete highway is last century...we need digital highway. The Highways and Bridges will employ civil engineers...that is a good thing, now we need projects for the electrical, mechanical, nuclear and chemical engineers too.

The most important weapon in the war for economic supremacy in the 21st century will be the organization of knowledge - Alvin Toffler

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