America's Mass Transit and Renewable Energy Delusions

Michael Lind argues that the version of the nation's infrastructure priorities we've been sold is a fallacy, and he has some suggestions for the kind of infrastructure we really need.
May 14, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Lind's opines that the consensus about the need to focus infrastructure investment on mass transit and renewable energy that has been adopted by the Obama administration and the political left are misguided. He sees the shale gas and robocar revolutions as delivering the fatal blows to those visions of the "next American infrastructure."

In their place he suggests a new, and decidedly less captivating, course for infrastructure inverstment. "If windmills and bullet trains symbolize yesterday's mistaken vision of the future, what kind of infrastructure will twenty-first century America really need?  The following list of possibilities is intended to be suggestive, not definitive:"

  • Pipeline networks
  • Ports
  • Truck-only lanes and congestion relief tunnels
  • Drones on the home front

"As the ill-fated vision of bullet trains and windmills shows, all visions of the future are tentative and must be constantly revised, in the light of new breakthroughs or political and economic realities. Even so, at least some of these infrastructure technologies are likely to play an important part in the economy of tomorrow."

Thanks to Daniel Lippman

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Published on Thursday, May 10, 2012 in
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