Friday, February 26, 2010


As this article from Governing reports, one bright spot in the summing up of this decade just past is the new focus on infrastructure.

An excerpt.

“New York City's High Line is aptly named, because it shoots down the west side of Manhattan at an altitude of about two stories, ignoring the traffic and hubbub below. Previously its rails serviced industry, such as the block-long old Nabisco factory at 15th Street, where millions of Oreos were made and distributed throughout the country.

“Now only people stroll along the High Line, perhaps taking a break from work, enjoying the flowers, grasses and shrubbery that bloom around them.

“This transformation of a derelict old train line, just a decade ago considered an eyesore and a drag on property values, into an elevated park and one of the hottest addresses in New York City is perhaps an apt symbol for another transformation that has occurred over the last decade, which is in our thinking.

“The decade of 2000 to 2010 has earned many monikers — the aughts, the null decade, the double-Os — and most of them are negative. But good things also happened in the last 10 years, one of which is the increasing recognition of and focus on infrastructure. A decade ago, the word "infrastructure" was hardly known outside the specialized worlds of public works departments. Now editorial writers bandy it about without explanation.

“This was the decade of infrastructure. This was the decade when a bridge collapsed in Minneapolis and focused a nation's attention on the vast litany of rusting and decrepit bridges, among other infrastructure, and the need for funds to repair them. This was the decade when a new bridge was built and opened in just over a year — a compliment to the capacity of professionals to work fast when needed.

“This was the decade when the new President Barack Obama, campaigning on something called an "infrastructure bank," persuaded a relatively compliant Congress into appropriating hundreds of billions of dollars for all types of infrastructure as an investment in the future and a means to jump-start the economy. Not incidentally, this spending included roughly $14 billion for intercity train travel, including high-speed rail — the first significant investment in train travel in at least a generation.”