30 Issues in 30 Days: Why Infrastructure Matters

Thursday, October 09, 2008

David Mongan, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, talks about why infrastructure matters and how we got to where we are in the United States in terms of our infrastructure.

What will the next president do to deal with crumbling infrastructure? Douglas Holz-Eakin, senior policy adviser to Senator John McCain, and Stephen Flynn, senior fellow in national security studies for the Council on Foreign Relations and unpaid adviser to Senator Barack Obama, discus their candidates' plans.

Andrew Rasiej, founder of Personal Democracy Forum, talks about the possibility of free public wi-fi.

Bob Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, talks about how America measures up to other countries in terms of infrastructure and what it needs to do to be on the cutting edge in the future. Also in the conversation, Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum London and editor of The Endless City.


Stephen Flynn, Douglas Holz-Eakin, David Mongan, Andrew Rasiej, Deyan Sudjic and Bob Yaro

Comments [12]


@mc: Are you really second-guessing the Obama campaign? Geez. BTW remember the guy who made one issue, saving social security, central to his campaign? The lock-box? He was sneered at by the MoDos.

Speaking of MoDos, did the host Amy really apologize for having a segment on infrastructure?

Oct. 10 2008 07:04 AM
mc from Brooklyn

It's too bad that Obama did not make this a theme for his campaign from the beginning. Edwards was identified with ending poverty, Clinton with health care, Obama could have been identified with infrastructure. I think that is why people seem to not be sure of him (people on the fence, that is). He never really stood for anything, indeed by his own admission he is a "blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."

This could have been his issue -- the time was ripe.

Oct. 09 2008 12:34 PM
hunter carson from West village


Hi: Too short a segment on such a critical topic.

As a senior living on a social security fix income .. I can no longer afford my DSL service. I already have had to cancel my cable service.

When my Con Ed bill doubled I had to cut these out.

People like me do not have equal access to the Internet. It is a class divide.

I used to share another person's access in my buildings but after Verizon did a high dollar advertising campaign saying sharing put people at risk for data theft, my neighbor got scared.

How can we get low cost Internet access? $21.00 is NOT low cost.

FYI Andrew ,,, because of your leadership I did vote for you in the primary


Oct. 09 2008 11:59 AM
hjs from 11211

caller, david: it's an investment

Oct. 09 2008 11:50 AM
MK from New York

Though I would like to see both candidates address cyber/ internet infrastructure issues, I would like them to discuss not only increased accessibility but also accountability. We should compare and analyze how issues have progressed in other countries with broader cyber access and usage rates ie South Korea, Japan etc.

Oct. 09 2008 11:48 AM
hjs from 11211

let's rebuild it green

Oct. 09 2008 11:48 AM
KC from NYC

Yes! Thank you for pointing out that ALL public transportation requires government funding. I am so tired of quasi-conservatives pointing out that Amtrak "loses" money. By that standard, our highway system is a miserable failure (because we have to pay for it with public funds). Such transparently misleading statements.

Oct. 09 2008 11:36 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

Highways aren't expected to make money. Why are trains expected to be revenue neutral?

Oct. 09 2008 11:35 AM
Demetri from brooklyn

John McCain was one of two dozen senators to vote last week against a bill that included $1.5 billion to fund D.C. transit.

"Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va), both of whom are retiring, are appealing to their longtime colleague to publicly back the Metro expansion, which has a rocky history with Bush administration officials. This year, federal officials voiced concerns that nearly sank the project, the first phase of which would stretch through Tysons Corner. Federal officials have since given the project a series of approvals."

"A statement from the McCain campaign, however, targeted the Metro funding as well as Amtrak. "Senator McCain strongly objects to earmarks in the bill such as a $1.5 billion earmark for the Washington . . . Metro system and questions if this money is warranted above the needs that may exist among other mass transit systems in our country," the statement says. "With the serious financial situation facing our nation, this [multibillion-dollar] commitment of taxpayers' dollars can [be] dedicated to addressing far more important national priorities." The Dulles rail issue was not addressed."

Oct. 09 2008 11:28 AM
Errol Bay

Why haven't railroads been mentioned in the discussion at all? Mass transit (of people and goods) is one of the center pieces of sustainable future in transportation.

Oct. 09 2008 11:26 AM
Georges from Manhattan

Is it true the Democrats recently introduced a bill in Congress that was rejected by Bush which tried to tie infrastructure to the unemployment problem?

Oct. 09 2008 11:18 AM
Alex from brooklyn

Once you establish the general concept of infrastructure, what counts as infrastructure?

In a manufacturing-based economy, transportation is basic infrastructure -- roads, train tracks, shipping yards. In a finance economy, perhaps the federal reserve is part of the infrastructure. In a knowledge economy, the internet -- for communication and research -- is a great part of the infrastructure.

Different industries require different kinds of infrastructure. What industries do we want to support or foster by investing in infrastructure?

And last, is not education an essential part of infrastructure building for the industries of the next few decades?

Oct. 09 2008 11:06 AM

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