Infrastructure Report 2008: A Competitive Advantage provides a snapshot of current and planned infrastructure investment in a variety of categories across the globe, with an in-depth look at the United States, China, Japan, India and Europe. The second annual report also touches on the infrastructure needs in several of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, highlighting the consequences of inadequate federal policy and guidelines that have resulted in “a mish-mash of disconnected regional infrastructure management approaches.”
The report identifies four stages of the infrastructure lifecycle and identifies the U.S., Canada, and Australia as “coasting on prosperity.” India, China and the United Arab Emirates are in the “growth and development” stage. The United Kingdom, the European Union, Spain, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Panama are in the “retool and revamp” stage, while Mexico, Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Russia are in the “inadequate investment” stage.
Highlighting the different approaches to infrastructure investment, the report makes clear the U.S. is falling behind and needs to “rethink accepted land-use models which led to rampant suburban growth during the last half century.” The report notes that a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate proposes a national infrastructure bank, while other proposed legislation calls for “Build America Bonds” to pay for transportation infrastructure. A number of recommendations are included in the report, such as: breaking down government silos, focusing on deferred maintenance, and developing national and regional infrastructure plans.
The report also recommends new funding strategies, including: user fees; interstate toll roads; funding based on reducing vehicle miles traveled; subsidies to encourage infill housing and commercial development served by mass transit in pedestrian-friendly communities; stop subsidizing sprawl; and stop tapping user fees to make up for other shortfalls.