America Faces Huge Bill for Crumbling Infrastructure

The demise of a 20-year plan to improve rail linkages between Manhattan and New Jersey is symptomatic of America's $2.2 trillion infrastructure deficit, writes Rupert Cornwell.

For Cornwell, the contrast between Switzerland's epic tunneling through the Alps and the crumbling state of America's infrastructure couldn't be more stark.

"[There is a] silent crisis...undermining America: the creeping decay of its public infrastructure. It's happening everywhere, from potholed interstate highways and grimy railways, to congested airports and a creaking air traffic control system that only adds to the increasingly third world experience of flying in the US. And hold your breath when you cross an American bridge: a 2005 study found that fully a quarter of them were structurally inadequate or obsolete.

Another reminder is when friends return from foreign trips marvelling at the high-speed rail networks in Europe, Japan and China, or at other man-made wonders such as the Millau Viaduct in southern France. Why, they ask, can't we have this sort of thing?"

Unfortunately, the political climate in the U.S. is turning against public spending: Tea Partiers in particular, he notes, do not support public funding of infrastructure. However, without repair, the economy will crumble too.

Full Story: Crumbling America has a $2.2 trillion repair bill



Irvin Dawid's picture

Great Perspective on U.S. from U.K., but misses point

I think Ken Orski nails it in What Infrastructure Crisis?
The U.S. is not the Swiss or any other European or Asian industrialized country. We are a nation built on cheap gas. And for whatever political reason which is beyond my understanding at the moment, words like stimulus, investment, infrastructure, appear to be not just meaningless but actually bad to many Americans.

I think Orski needs to do a follow-up - how to change the outlook so investment becomes a good word. Maybe we should all eat Swiss chocolate and drink Swiss hot chocolate? I have no idea....
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.