Will Infrastructure Networks Catch Up With a Rebounding US Economy

June 24th, 2013 | by Morris Beschloss | Comments

For a nation that carries the greatest net worth ever generated by an historically dominant entity, the U.S.A.’s dilapidated overall infrastructure comes close to resembling that of second-tier countries struggling to catch up with the 21st century by leap-frogging the 20th.

With a 320 million strong population, an unparalleled gross domestic product of $15.6 trillion, and an overwhelming entrepreneurial independent business/industrial core, unequaled anywhere in the world, it’s disgraceful that America’s roads, dams, bridges, railroad tracks and airports, plus a 50-state pipeline complex to distribute its energy requirements to all corers comprising its massive energy distribution needs, is in such disrepair.

The last time such a nationwide undertaking was pursued with leadership vigor was in the early stages of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration by forming a number of alphabet agencies (WPA, PWA, TVA, CCC, etc.) Although this newly-developed infrastructure actually exceeded the nation’s needs at the time of the deep depression, it proved sufficient to support America’s amazing ability to fight a major war against the world’s two leading military powers, Germany and Japan. This Atlantic and Pacific world war could not have fulfilled America’s “arsenal of democracy” without the mobility provided by America’s superb highway and pipeline infrastructure.

A second shot in the arm to upgrade what was then the beginning of a post-war political unraveling was President Dwight David Eisenhower’s revamp of a 50 state highway system primarily for military purposes of a prospective Cold War with the Soviet Union turning hot.

Since that massive undertaking is now 50 years in the past, precious little has been done in the last few decades, with the U.S. population doubling and demand for the transportation of its resource needs exceeding even this growth percentage, the consequences of this lapse are starting to make themselves felt in a recovering economy.

As President Barack Obama was expected to use the trillion dollar stimulus plan vested in him in February 2009 by a dominant Democrat House/Senate combine for infrastructure upgrades, simulating the FDR example would have given both production and employment a major lift, but precious little was done at the depth of the great recession. Instead this huge currency influx was diverted to renewable energy experiments, such as biofuels, solar, wind power, and geothermal to displace fossil fuels, while putting ever greater emphasis on pushing through a national healthcare plan for the next 18 months.

This has now left the U.S. threadbare in distributing its critical energy, power, food, and other necessities throughout the 50 states. While electric power distribution is the most critical, the lack of which is ushering in increasing blackouts and brownouts as summer beckons, obsolete bridges, highways, and dams are also demanding restorative action. As this is written, there are few signs that such a massive infrastructure initiative is in the making.

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