U.S. lags way behind in transport infrastructure: Report

NEW YORK — The United States’ relatively low investment in virtually all aspects of mobility-related infrastructure — roads and bridges, airports, public transit, and railway systems — is an “emerging crisis” that will compromise the ability of the nation’s cities to compete globally, according to a new report co-published by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst Young.

Infrastructure 2007: A Global Perspective offers a comprehensive look at the status of current and planned infrastructure investment and development in a variety of categories in countries worldwide, with a particular focus on the U.S., China, Japan, India, and Europe. The first of its kind, the report discusses the evolving infrastructure market, including private and combination public-private systems for funding, construction, operations and management.

Inevitably, the private sector will play an increasingly
important role in the development of infrastructure.

“America is more of a follower and no longer a world leader when it comes to infrastructure,” the report states. “Other countries marshal vanguard strategies and provide the contemporary lessons for developing best practices in public/private finance, intermodal transport, congestion pricing and high-speed rail…Too often (in the U.S.), projects focus on restoration rather than rethinking the model and finding possible efficiencies…There is a tendency to invest in the infrastructure we have instead of the infrastructure we will need.”

According to Dale Ann Reiss, global director of real estate at Ernst Young, the private sector is going to play a significant role in what she predicts will be a global movement to build and modernize the world’s infrastructure.

She is expecting a fundamental shift in the current business model that will change the playing field across the board. “One thing in this report that is crystal clear to a Friedmanian economist like me is that the private sector — by virtue of both the capital it controls and the skill sets it exhibits — is going to play an increasingly important role in the effective and efficient development of infrastructure here in the U.S. and abroad over the next 50 years,” says Reiss.

“Public-private partnerships are here to stay and may well be the only viable way for governments to reach their infrastructure development goals.”

— via Truckinginfo.com

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