Topic: Infrastructure
July 10, 2017

As inspectors assess the damage and investigate what caused the explosion, Saturday’s incident is emblematic of the challenges facing the nation’s largest municipal utility as it plays catch-up to update its aging power grid, officials said. The blast provided another example of the city's deteriorating infrastructure, which has made headlines after epic bursts of aging water pipes, crumbling sidewalks and gaping sinkholes. There are 70 large transformers in the utility’s network, and 20 of them still need to be replaced at a cost of about $5 million each, officials said. The utility’s ongoing Power System Reliability Program seeks to upgrade or replace thousands of smaller transformers, power poles, circuit breakers and other equipment. Wright said the utility is trying “to make up for what is several decades of deferred maintenance. The concern is that we need to get ahead so that reliability increases.”

June 20, 2017

The California High-Speed Rail Authority promises to “achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in construction” and is committed to operate the system on “100% renewable energy” by contracting for “400 to 600 megawatts of renewable power”. These promises may please environmentalists, but they cannot be kept.

June 14, 2017

Import growth slowed in May at the nation’s dominant West Coast container ports, as broad changes in the global ocean shipping sector appeared to shift supply chain routes toward the East Coast. The neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., which handle the largest volume of container cargo among U.S. ports, reported a total of 749,645 loaded inbound 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, a standard measure for container cargo, last month. That was a 2.5% increase over the same period last year, pulling back after year-over-year surges of 26% and 12% in March and April.

June 13, 2017

Defenders of California High-Speed Rail often respond to critics by touting how the project provides high-paying jobs in the construction industry for disadvantaged residents of the San Joaquin Valley. It’s one thing to proclaim intentions, but another to achieve them. . . .But these programs and jobs have restrictions. The California High-Speed Rail Authority and other regional and local governments have policies (such as a Project Labor Agreement, aka “Community Benefits Agreement”) to ensure construction unions get a monopoly on recruitment, training, and dispatch of workers to high-speed rail jobs. Allegedly this would provide job opportunities for disadvantaged residents who would otherwise remain in poverty. Public records just obtained from the Fresno-based State Center Community College District reveal that unions did not offer apprenticeship opportunities to most of the 69 people who completed a union-affiliated pre-apprenticeship program funded by a state grant. Performance results for this program suggest that unions are reserving high-speed rail jobs for more favored individuals. Ironically, a few workers ended up getting jobs from local non-union contractors.


In this document, we have outlined an action plan to revitalize America’s aging infrastructure. We start by articulating a set of principles that reflect our long-held view that government has a valuable role to play in supporting infrastructure development.

We follow with specific recommendations on how the private and public sectors can translate those principles into action. These recommendations are organized into five sections: Surface Transportation, Ports and Inland Waterways, Aviation, Drinking and Wastewater, and Energy. We also provide recommendations for innovative approaches to funding and financing.

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