Newsweek brings in the California governor to make some important points on transportation policy and infrastructure. He is hitting one of our favorite themes: the transportation gap with every other nation on earth.
An important highlight follows, and here is a link to the entire thing.
We’re a society where e-mail, handheld devices, videoconferencing and thousands of satellites in orbit keep us connected. So why do Americans stand in long security lines at the airport, in our socks, just to sit in the terminal for hours as our flights get delayed because of overcrowded airport runways?
None of this makes sense in America. It doesn’t make sense that in the greatest country on Earth we still rely on trains that go the same speed as they did 100 years ago, so our shipping times and commutes are longer than other countries. It doesn’t make sense that we drive across unsafe bridges like the one that collapsed in Minnesota and live behind inadequate levees like those that failed in New Orleans.
If we were to come up with an analogy, I’d compare our situation to running a company. Imagine trying to compete in today’s business world of BlackBerrys, e-mail alerts, videoconferences and PowerPoint when all you have is an IBM Selectric typewriter and a single telephone landline. You’re going to get beat. And when you think about America’s aging infrastructure, we’re going to get beat, too—by our competitors China, India, Europe and Brazil. Travel overseas and you see faster commuter trains, better public transportation, double-decker freeways, and more efficient ports. Meanwhile, infrastructure spending as a share of gross domestic product in the United States has dropped 25 percent over the past 20 years. So, government spending is at an all-time high, while investment in our critical infrastructure is at a historic low.