Re-imagining Versus Repairing the Nation's Infrastructure

In an opinion piece for <em>Politico</em>, three Washington insiders propose several principles along which the United States should re-imagine its infrastructure in order to provide the means for future prosperity.
February 21, 2012, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Rather than focusing on repairing legacy systems that have outlived their usefulness, retired senator Byron Dorgan, retired General Jim Jones, and Mark Gerencser, managing partner of Booz Allen Hamilton, propose that the country would be better served by envisioning and building infrastructure to serve the needs of a 21st century economy.

Among their key principles along which to develop such systems:

  • "Think innovation, not shovels. We won't solve our problems with repairs or extensions. America must re-imagine its infrastructure to meet the needs of its citizens in a future that abounds with opportunities and competitive challenges."
  • "Plan regionally, think holistically. We need regional plans. But there is no consistent form of regional governance to plan or implement actions. "Megaregions" present real promise."
  • "Build for the next century. Align incentives with objectives. Financiers, builders, owners, operators and users face perverse incentives. For example, users have the least say in infrastructure design, while those who pay for it often realize the least benefits. Adjust the incentives for the various stakeholders - and place users at the center of all designs."
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Published on Thursday, February 16, 2012 in Politico
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