Why Does Infrastructure Cost So Dang Much?

When it comes to infrastructure projects, “we're not just a bit behind the curve — we're ridiculously, embarrassingly behind the curve,” according to a recent article by Ryan Cooper.

Ryan Cooper asks a simple question without a simple answer: “Spain, a developed market democracy, gets 10 to 20 times as much infrastructure for its money as America does, and it is of much higher quality to boot. Why is this?”

The question of infrastructure spending seems particularly pertinent of late—given all the recent research showing new behaviors in transportation and the environmental threats created by climate change (which are uniquely challenging in New York City or California and everywhere else, for that matter).

Cooper mentions three possibilities—expensive labor, out-of-control private contractors, and a “crap procurement process”—as culprits for the state of infrastructure investment in the country, but also acknowledges “it would be a mistake to focus too much on particular techniques or failures. The reality is that when it comes to cost and quality, America is doing basically everything wrong.”

Full Story: Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?

Comments

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
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00