Tag: Infrastructure

Charles Marohn joins Michael Hendrix to discuss why the current approach to suburban development isn’t working—the subject of his new book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity.

“Strong Towns,” notes Aaron Renn in his review of the book for City Journal, “resulted from [Marohn’s] discovery that the highway projects he designed showed a negative return on investment.” Marohn has dedicated his career to helping the country’s older suburbs avoid such costly mistakes by founding the book’s namesake organization, Strong Towns. “Whether or not one agrees with his many observations and prescriptions,” Renn writes, “Marohn provides a valuable analysis of sprawl-based development.”

Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, joins City Journal contributing editor Nicole Gelinas to discuss the state of U.S. infrastructure and how federal spending could be used more effectively to improve safety and reduce fiscal waste.

The federal government spends between $40 billion and $60 billion on transportation infrastructure annually. In recent years, congressional leaders and the White House have pushed a $2 trillion plan to upgrade roads, bridges, and more. But such proposals, Osborne argues, “would throw more money into the same flawed system.”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Just Happened in the Rose Garden?


Earlier today, President Trump commented about a planned infrastructure meeting that he just left with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer. This was followed by Pelosi and Schumer describing how the President left the meeting without the discussion on infrastructure even taking place. They were ready to present a 35-page plan and said the President just shut it down. They went on to describe how he “ran away” from the meeting.

Apparently, the President asked them to stop the constant harassment and re-investigation (of the Mueller Report) and threats of impeachment (of which there is no basis) so they can sit down and work together amicably. Is this unreasonable? Is it not insane to constantly backstab, threaten, and investigate, then expect to come into a meeting all smiles and get anything done? Would the meeting on infrastructure have gone well, had the Democrats accepted the two years of investigation that cost us, the American taxpayers, $35 to 40 million (and I think we’re still counting) several weeks ago when it was released?

I am beyond frustrated as a taxpayer and a US citizen. What if it were me, my administration, and my family who was interrogated for over two years, with investigation concluding no collusion or obstruction? Yet, they still chose not to accept the report, continued to ask for further investigations, and I was expected to enter a meeting all smiles ready to go? I would define that as insanity.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Make Florida Great Again


President Trump has been very busy this weekend in Florida. On Friday, he honored Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon, with a second proper presidential farewell and send-off, as he had done for Ambassador Nikki Haley. Earlier in the day, he appeared with Florida officials and the Corps of Engineers on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, highlighting an important infrastructure project.

Lake Okeechobee is a large freshwater lake described as the heart or the kidney of Florida. It is girded by a dike system, which has been in long-standing need of repair. The US Army Corps of Engineers has federal responsibility, as with other large waterways.

The first embankments around Lake Okeechobee were constructed by local interest from sand and muck, circa 1915. Hurricane tides overtopped the original embankments in 1926 and 1928, resulting in over 2,500 deaths.

Robert Poole joins City Journal contributing editor Nicole Gelinas to discuss Poole’s new book, Rethinking America’s Highways: a 21st-Century Vision for Better Infrastructure.

Americans spend untold hours every year sitting in traffic. And despite billions of taxpayer dollars spent by transportation agencies, our nation’s roads, tunnels, guardrails, and bridges are in serious disrepair. According to transportation expert Poole, traffic jams and infrastructure deterioration are inevitable outcomes of American infrastructure policymaking, which is overly politicized and prone to short-term thinking.

“Making America toxic again,” as one publication suggested, or a public servant dedicated to paring honest science and environmental stewardship? Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, stops by to explain how the Trump Administration has reoriented the EPA, its highlights and priorities, and how a former college baseball player deals with political hardball in the nation’s capital.

This week on Banter, AEI visiting scholar and director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy Rick Geddes joined the show to discuss the Trump administration’s long-awaited infrastructure plan and the future of US infrastructure policy. Geddes’ work at AEI focuses on infrastructure, public and private partnerships, the US postal system and postal delivery policy, and corporate governance. He hosted Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation Derek Kan and a panel of infrastructure policy experts at AEI for a discussion of the details of the plan. You can watch the full event video at the link below.

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I’d like to bring up the topic of infrastructure. President Trump, of course, beat me to it last year. He talked about the sad state of American infrastructure, how our roads, bridges and related facilities are in a sorry state, and how it’ll take over a tril to fix ’em. There have been a few […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Make America Safe Again: A Steel of a Deal


President Trump knows more about structural steel than any president since the great civil engineer Herbert Hoover. Media of every flavor took the President’s comments, about requiring the use of US steel in petroleum pipeline construction, at face value, as only a jobs program. While “free” trade advocates got the vapors about protectionism and warned of harm to the US economy from artificially high prices, no one bothered digging into the critical assumption.

A year later, President Trump threatened to impose steel tariffs. There was much back-slapping and hand-wringing, all having to do with the price of steel and supposed resulting gains and losses in jobs. In the midst of this noise, Mark Davis, a Texas radio talk show host, took a call from a welder. (Starts at 23:50.)

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are leery in general that any infrastructure bill can avoid becoming a huge waste of money but they are glad to see President Trump asking states to play a major role in funding the plan. They also unload on the mainstream media for writing glowing reviews of Kim Jong-Un’s sister and how she is supposedly executing a diplomatic masterpiece at the Olympics. And they rip the press for falling for the supposedly charming North Korean cheer squad, when they’re really slaves of a regime that will punish them and their families if they make any mistakes. And they roll their eyes at CNN for reporting that Sen. Bob Corker is thinking about reconsidering his retirement, even as Corker’s office says there is nothing to the story.

Richard Epstein opines on whether Donald Trump or Barack Obama deserves more credit for the current economic expansion, then tackles the policy agenda the president laid out in his State of the Union address.

John Tierney joins Seth Barron to discuss the Trump administration’s plans to reform how infrastructure projects are managed and funded.

Civil engineers and other experts (including here at City Journal) have warned for years that the country’s roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, and rail lines are in serious need of repair. Thanks in part to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, infrastructure is now at the top of the national agenda.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New York City’s Infrastructure Is a Mess. Who Is to Pay?


Bloomberg News/Businessweek ran an extensive piece about the potentially disastrous condition of Penn Station in New York City and the perilous state of the two Hudson River tunnels that feed it. The tunnels are over 100 years old. The construction fill from the original World Trade Center that was used to create new land changed the course of the Hudson in such a way as to erode the river bed above the tunnels. Hurricane Sandy partly filled the tunnels with salty water, and the salt deposits are eating away at the elderly concrete.

The tunnels now carry far more people than they were ever envisioned to carry into the busiest single train station in the United States, so closing them for repairs would congest commuter traffic horribly, and projects to construct newer tunnels to supplement these aging ones have never come to fruition. So the author of the piece, Devin Leonard, details in his article:

As the gateway to America’s largest city, Penn Station should inspire awe, as train stations do in London, Paris, Tokyo, and other competently managed metropolises. Instead, it embodies a particular kind of American failure—the inability to maintain roads, rails, ports, and other necessary conduits. For generations, the officials connected to Penn Station have been blind to, or unable to deliver on, the idea that improving the station would more than pay for itself. (One estimate, from the Business Roundtable, says that a dollar invested in infrastructure yields as much as $3 in economic growth.) In the final days of 2017, the situation reached perhaps its bleakest point yet, when the Trump administration signaled its disinterest in coming to the rescue: The president will not honor an Obama-era commitment to New York and New Jersey to foot half the cost of a new tunnel, dumping planners back at square one. [emphasis mine]

In New York City today President Donald Trump signed an executive order to cut red tape on infrastructure projects to make it easier, he said, to construct roads and bridges. He then took questions from reporters, who almost exclusively asked about his comments about the violence in Charlottesville, VA, last weekend. The exchange between Trump and the reporters was lively, with one reporter asking the president, “Are you against the Confederacy?” Trump repeatedly denounced the reporters as being part of “fake news,” saying that the coverage of what happened in Charlottesville would have been better, “If you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not.” Trump also asked reporters if they were in favor of taking down statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, since both were slave-owners. “You’re erasing history,” said the president.

Victor Davis Hanson traces the parallels between President Trump and the Roman emperor Claudius, explaining what the former can learn from the latter.

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Story Five. Historically important Americans who are famous are crucial to the American story because they were the locus and fulcrum of important events. But it takes more than loci and fulcrums to make history. Here’s one of the unsung, or relatively unsung, makers of history, the kind we all have, usually unbeknownst even to […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Democrats Push $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan As Deficits Are Rising


ABC News:

Senate Democrats on Tuesday offered a plan to spend $1 trillion on transportation and other infrastructure projects over 10 years, challenging President Donald Trump to join them on an issue where they hope to find common ground. Democrats estimate their plan would create 15 million jobs. The plan includes $210 billion to repair aging roads and bridges and another $200 billion for a “vital infrastructure fund” to pay for a variety of transportation projects of national significance.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Will Any Ideas to Help Rust Belt Workers Really Do the Trick?


British journalist and think-tanker Gavin Kelly blogs about the various calls to “compensate the losers” from globalization (though he acknowledges automation as the more important macro trend). And Kelly finds the answers lacking any systemic approach and failing to provide an overarching policy regime. More of a unsatisfying jumble, with many ideas on the moldy side. Policies that promote geographic mobility, re-skilling, and a more robust safety net may have merit but hardly add up to a “big idea.”

And whatever their substantive merits, Kelly argues that you “can’t fight big lies like ‘mines will be re-opened’ or ‘manufacturing jobs re-shored’ with small pledges to retrain displaced workers.”

Of course Kelly himself trots out the hardly novel idea of greater infrastructure investment, though with an emphasis on judging projects on more than just their cost-benefit analysis. So a bit of a twist: Where the money is spent should be a key consideration. He refers to the work of economist Diane Coyle, who wrote thusly in the Financial Times about the infrastructure ideas of then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborn:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Environmental Permit Menace


Government Red TapeThere is wide bipartisan support to take immediate steps at all levels of government to improve America’s aging and dilapidated infrastructure. The challenge of infrastructure design is to move people and goods rapidly and efficiently from one place to another, while minimizing adverse environmental impacts.

Private firms can, of course, do a great deal of the legwork in putting this infrastructure together. But private enterprise cannot do the job alone. Long and skinny infrastructure elements, like railroads, highways, and pipelines, typically require the use of the government power of eminent domain to assemble the needed parcels of land. In addition, much infrastructure has to be built across government-owned land. The cooperation of government is thus needed for the completion of these projects. And there is always the risk that any major construction project could cause serious physical damage to the larger environment.

There is a need, therefore, to balance environmental protection with efficient and cost-effective infrastructure development. But it is at this critical juncture that the environmental movement has run off the rails. The passage of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) in 1969 signaled the dawn of a new era in environmental law—the age of non-stop permit-process. NEPA itself contains no substantive requirements intended to enhance overall environmental protection; but it does introduce an elaborate system of “permitting” that must be satisfied before any particular project can proceed.

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club podcast for December 13, 2016 it’s the Bikini Burger Babes edition of the podcast brought to you by SimpliSafe, DonorsTrust and Patriot Mobile.

Today we will talk about Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants and the mind behind the Hardees advertising campaign that puts fat, juicy hamburgers in the hands and mouths of scantily-clad, blue-hot, All American girls (see image). Why does the left view gorgeous women in bikinis as outrageous but Lena Dunham in a bikini as “empowering?” And who, by the way, really believes that raising the minimum wage is a smart idea that will help, for example, unemployed people? Andy Puzder doesn’t!