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Renewing America

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Showing posts for "Infrastructure"

An Easy Way to Get Smarter on Infrastructure Finance

by Rebecca Strauss
Vehicles drive on the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge in San Francisco, California September 2, 2013 (Stephen Lam/Courtesy Reuters). Vehicles drive on the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge in San Francisco, California September 2, 2013 (Stephen Lam/Courtesy Reuters).

“The United States has an infrastructure investment problem,” so starts CFR Senior Fellow Heidi Crebo-Rediker’s compelling new policy innovation memo released yesterday. As we lay out in our report on federal transportation policy, the country should be spending one-third more than current levels just to be able to maintain the infrastructure we alrady have. Using more private money is one way to plug the gap. But many state and local governments, who are responsible for paying for and managing most of the nation’s infrastructure, do not have the expertise of using innovative financing structures that share risk, channel private money effectively, and give taxpayers value for money. Read more »

Why We Don’t Have the Aviation Infrastructure We Need…and What to Do About It

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden
An American Airlines jet passes the air traffic control tower on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California (Patrick T. Fallon/Courtesy Reuters). An American Airlines jet passes the air traffic control tower on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California (Patrick T. Fallon/Courtesy Reuters).

The following post was written by Greg Principato, who was President of Airports Council International–North America, the trade association representing U.S. and Canadian airports, from 2005-2013. He was also Executive Director of the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry (Clinton Administration) and a member of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee (George W. Bush Administration). Read more »

New Energy and U.S. Economic Vulnerability

by Edward Alden
U.S. President Barack Obama walks past a pumpjack on his way to deliver remarks on energy independence in New Mexico, March 21, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama walks past a pumpjack on his way to deliver remarks on energy independence in New Mexico, March 21, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

One of the promises of the fracking revolution that has sharply increased oil and gas production in the United States is that it might help to free this country from the economic ups and downs associated with a volatile world energy market. But a new Council on Foreign Relations Energy Brief, “The Shale Gas and Tight Oil Boom: US States’ Economic Gains and Vulnerabilities,” suggests that promise is over-stated. Even as U.S. reliance on foreign oil has diminished, it is still vulnerable to price shocks that could result from events in the Middle East or elsewhere. Read more »

Transportation: Overhyped “Can-Do” States and P3s

by Rebecca Strauss
A police vehicle escorts visitors through one of two tunnels that will replace a stretch of California's Highway 1 near Pacifica, California on March 25, 2013 (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters). A police vehicle escorts visitors through one of two tunnels that will replace a stretch of California's Highway 1 near Pacifica, California on March 25, 2013 (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters).

Advocates for more U.S. transportation spending are accustomed to discouraging news. So it is understandable they would claim a resounding victory when a handful of (small) “can-do” states manage to buck the national trend and raise taxes and revenues dedicated to transportation spending. More private dollars than ever before are being funneled into infrastructure projects, too. But the underlying, fundamental problem remains: the federal government and the vast majority of states are failing to raise enough public funds to pay for upkeep on the nation’s road and highway system, not to mention make new capital investments. Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: NYC Zoning and Competitiveness

by Jonathan Masters
View of Midtown Manhattan from the Empire State Building, New York, NY (Courtesy Flickr). View of Midtown Manhattan from the Empire State Building, New York, NY (Courtesy Flickr).

The debate over skyscrapers and their place in the American city has endured for over a century, and New York City has often led the conversation. In 1913, the Equitable Life Assurance Society unveiled its controversial proposal to build a hulking new corporate headquarters in lower Manhattan after its former Wall Street home—the “city’s first skyscraper”—dramatically burned down. Completed just two years later, the new 1.4 million square foot, 40-story neo-classical colossus blocked the sun like few other man-made structures of its day. Read more »

U.S. Broadband Policy and Competitiveness

by Steven J. Markovich
An internet cable is seen at a server room (Kacper Pempel/Courtesy Reuters). An internet cable is seen at a server room (Kacper Pempel/Courtesy Reuters).

Experts agree that broadband internet is a critical piece of 21st-century infrastructure. The Federal Communications Commission has stated that “broadband is a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life.” Read more »

Let the Free Market Not Bureaucrats Build Bridges

by Renewing America Staff

From 1990 to 2006, the UK financed five times as many public-private partnerships to improve transportation infrastructure as the United States did. With low interest rates and high unemployment, the timing is presumably right to invest in improvements to the United States’ decaying transportation infrastructure. Read more »

Is This What Energy Independence Looks Like?

by Renewing America Staff

A new report from the Energy Information Administration offers insight into the potential for the United States to achieve “energy independence” over the next twenty or so years. A great number of things would need to come together, explains CFR’s Michael Levi on his blog “Energy, Security, and Climate,” including improved vehicle efficiency, less driving, more natural gas powered transportation, advancements in biomass fuels, and increased production from shale gas and tight oil wells. Read more »

The Sales Tax: The New Way to Fund Transportation?

by Rebecca Strauss
Cars wait in a traffic jam in New York City (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters). Cars wait in a traffic jam in New York City (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters).

Engineers have been browbeating U.S. policymakers about the dire state of the country’s infrastructure for years. This year is no different. Last week the American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure a barely passing grade of D+ and warned that “it’s time to stop duct-taping this problem.” Much of the problem has to do with how the country pays for its infrastructure, which does not raise enough revenue to keep up with the costs of needed repairs and improvements. But the engineers may finally have the ear of policymakers in one state, Virginia, who are making real changes about how the state funds its highways and roads. Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: Teddy’s Big Ditch Grows Deeper

by Steven J. Markovich
A cargo ship waits to pass through the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal (Alberto Lowe/Courtesy Reuters). A cargo ship waits to pass through the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal (Alberto Lowe/Courtesy Reuters).

This summer, a billion-dollar project will begin to raise the road deck of the Bayonne Bridge that links Staten Island to Jersey City, and provides access to Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel. The project is not being undertaken because of safety concerns about the current bridge, but rather to allow larger container ships to pass underneath it and reach the Port of New York and New Jersey. It’s just one of several port projects in anticipation of the widening of the Panama Canal. Read more »