Our Crumbling Economic Base

Mar 15 2012 @ 7:20pm

Eric Spiegel explains why the decay of America's infrastructure is so damaging to the economy. He touts public-private partnerships as one way to modernize infrastructure:

We have hundreds of military bases in the U.S., and they are in disrepair. The buildings are old and their energy efficiency is poor. They're looking at putting smart micro grids in to handle their own power generation. Micro grids could be solar, could be gas, and could be different things. When you take a look at the numbers, these things are basically self-funding. In other words, the government doesn't have to make the investment.

It can get private money from companies like Siemens who will do what we call performance contracting. We'll pay to modernize the military's grid and share the savings with the federal government. We can do the same thing with rail systems, highways, universities, data centers. We can use a lot of private money to drive this. The rest of the world is doing this in a big, big way. We need to make it easier to do here.

Relatedly, Ezra Klein worries about the fate of the highway bill. Brad Plumer adds that the long-term transportation picture doesn't look any better.