Infrastructure And The Economy

The Wall Street Journal had an article on July 17-18 titled “Roads to Ruin: Towns Rip Up the Pavement.”

The story highlights the practice of converting paved roads to gravel instead of repaving them in order to save money.

This is yet another example of our (national) inability to maintain our infrastructure.

I believe that the current state of our national infrastructure represents a “silent crisis.”  It is not one which receives a lot of press or attention, yet is very significant for a variety of reasons.

Apart from the obvious risks posed to citizens from decrepit, crumbling infrastructure there are other broader issues.   The longer one waits to fix the existing infrastructure, the higher the cost.  Needless to say, at this time there is not trillions of dollars available to make the needed repairs.  As such, one is led to wonder when such repairs will be made.  Even if the trillions of dollars needed were suddenly available, such repairs can’t be made in a short time period due to a variety of factors.

Of course, it is easy to let such repairs “slide”, since the costs are high and few currently seem concerned about the issue.

The state of the infrastructure can also be examined from an economic standpoint.  I view the deteriorating infrastructure as being both a symptom of as well as a contributor to the “economic brownfield” condition that I described in the article “America’s Economic Future – ‘Greenfield’ or ‘Brownfield’?”

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SPX at 1093.67 as this post is written