Friday, November 7, 2008

Shouting down "roads and bridges"

It's a little alarming the number of commentators down on investing in infrastructure.

Wasn't it just in the past Administration that the entire East Coast of the United States went dark?

In the aftermath of that, we learned that we had an electric grid that hasn't been upgraded since it was built in the post-war period (as best I recall, that is). (That and how vulnerable we are to terrorist attack, including our one or two pipelines that come up from the Gulf).

Today, we really, really could use a 'smart grid'. The efficiency gains to the economy are enormous.

Even small improvements in congestion and reductions in commuter time have material implications for productivity and quality of life.

People have been talking for years about building roads that last twice as long as those that are constantly re-done now. Material scientists have come up with ways to sequester carbon, by changing the materials that we build with, something that could be jump-started, could reach critical mass, by widespread projects that require new methods.

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