Re-imagining U.S. infrastructure

Feb. 16, 2012

President Barack Obama took the first step toward re-imagining U.S. infrastructure when he promised an executive order to reduce the red tape that frequently delays or derails building projects.

But to address our nation’s infrastructure crisis and create more jobs, we need to go far beyond just repairing our aging legacy infrastructure. We must re-imagine it.

National discussions about infrastructure often focus, understandably, on rebuilding or fixing. We spend enormous amounts of capital on legacy systems, such as roads and bridges that have outlived their usefulness.

These have been a priority because of the misguided notion that it’s cheaper and quicker to rebuild existing infrastructure than to re-imagine it. This perception persists despite compelling evidence to the contrary — and the real risks that obsolete infrastructure poses to our global economic competiveness and national security.