Friday, October 30, 2015

Taking Infrastructure Seriously

Remember the 2013 infrastructure grade report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)?  A snapshot of the 2013 grades for the US were quite damning and are posted in the picture below:

My immediate response is WOW followed by an emoticon of sadness :-(

These grades are two years old and I suspect they have not improved and perhaps have gotten even worse.

Maybe with a new Speaker of the House perhaps some new attention on this national crisis will happen (?) -- I certainly hope so.

In the World Economic Forum AGENDA, there is an article by the Honorable Gordon Brown (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) with the headline GORDON BROWN:  IT'S TIME TO TAKE INFRASTRUCTURE SERIOUSLY.

Mr. Brown's article offers a very critical and less than optimistic view of the world's current infrastructure crisis that prompted me to write this blog.  He offers some of the following facts:

  • There is a $20 Trillion backlog in infrastructure maintenance/upgrade requirements running to 2030
  • 18% of the world's citizens are left without electricity
  • 11% of the world's citizens are left without clean water
  • 20% are deprived of basic healthcare
  • 58M children denied primary schooling
Gordon continues to observe that without action on improving this blight in infrastructure eradicating extreme poverty cannot not be achieved.

Ideas Needed

Yes, infrastructure capital projects -- new and upgrades -- are expensive and may be risky; however, interest rates are low and there is new emphasis on public-private partnerships to take necessary actions to at least improve the current situation.  Unfortunately, we are so far behind in the US let alone the other parts of the economically advanced nations that paying attention to the less developed countries may be obscured by the problems we face.

Leadership is needed tackle this issue in conjunction with climate change....they are both intertwined and I'd like to commend Mr. Brown and the World Economic Forum for raising awareness on this daunting issue.