Innovation and Political Leadership Can Fix Potholes

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In her book, “Move: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead,” author Rosabeth Kanter sees technology, privatization and political will as the answer to our crumbling infrastructure. Rosabeth Moss Kanter is not an expert on asphalt and potholes per sé. The Harvard Business School professor is a specialist in strategy, innovation and leadership for change. And she has some pretty big, strategic and innovative ideas and perspectives on the sweeping changes underway in transportation. Ultimately, potholes are a big concern to her – along with falling bridges, traffic congestion, and…read more

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Poor Infrastructure States Have Other Problems, Too

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How does the quality of infrastructure affect a state economy? How might the condition of roads, bridges, airports, ports, railways, and utilities affect quality of life? Do potholes on our daily commute affect us in other ways? The CNBC cable news channel went about considering these and other factors in 2016, breaking down each condition by state. They considered such things as the percent of deficient bridges, the average commuting time to work, and what maintenance of water systems in each state would cost over the next 20 years. By their methodology,…read more

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Public Works vs. Infrastructure

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What’s in a word? Does calling our pavement “infrastructure” instead of “public works” in anyway help fix our potholes? Or is it the other way around? In his recent book, “The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure,” Duke University engineering professor Henry Petroski discusses (among many things) common misconceptions about the sources of funds for road construction and maintenance. Where it comes to our nation’s roads, bridges and other components of the physical makeup of civilization, it isn’t always clear what level of government – city, state or federal…read more

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“Infrastructure – if anything exciting happens, we’ve done it wrong.”

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Sometimes humor is the best teacher. So thanks to HBO-TV’s John Oliver, host of the comedy show “Last Week Tonight,” the topic of infrastructure may finally find some students. As this March 2015 clip explains, via Oliver’s satirical quips, infrastructure isn’t sexy. Especially the repair part, where potholes are filled and cracked bridge buttresses are repaired. These are the essential public works projects that don’t get ribbon cuttings. Consequently, we know it’s a growing problem and yet we can’t seem to find the funding to make timely, even life-saving repairs….read more

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A Gas Tax Isn’t the Only Way to Fund Infrastructure

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The semi-annual discussions on America’s infrastructure spending – including how to fix potholes, as well as bridges, tunnels, ports and public transportation – should be studied in economics classes everywhere. It has everything: supply and demand, the multiplier effect of government spending, the tradeoff of taxation against consumption, international trade/fossil fuel pricing and, of course, politics. And here we are in the first quarter of 2015, where there is lively discussion in the U.S. about raising the gas tax in order to save the highways (this time it’s because gas…read more

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