America's Third World Infrastructure

Alex Marshall investigates the reasons why America's infrastructure resembles a third world country's, and decides that we have our arcane budgeting processes to blame.

In search of some of the less recognized causes of our infrastructure woes, Marshall looks at governing official's predilections for raiding maintenance money to fund other budget shortfalls and the peculiar ways in which financing and political mechanisms make it easier to fund new projects rather than maintaining those already built.

"A transit manager at a major American city told me a revealing story during a tour: 'See those lights,' said the official, pointing to some bulbs within some rusting metal frames hanging over the platform. 'It would only cost about $1,000 a year to maintain those well. We can't get that. So instead, we will wait until they rust out and fail completely. Then we will replace them, at a cost of perhaps $100,000.' This is poor governance and poor economics, to say the least."

Full Story: Why Does Our Infrastructure Resemble a Third World Country’s?

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95