The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the U.S.’s infrastructure a D+ rating. America’s roads, rails, ports, and airports are aging, overcrowded, and increasingly outdated. For many cities, business essentials—like electric power, clean drinking water, and Internet connectivity—are growing less reliable.
Moreover, federal funding isn’t just inadequate, it’s erratic. Congress used to work with governors on 10-year highway spending plans. This allowed states and local governments to take the long-term view that infrastructure programs require. For most of the past decade, Congress authorized highway funding in three- to nine-month increments, making long-term planning impracticable.
The good news? In 2015, Congress passed a $305 billion 5-year highway investment bill. Mayors, governors and local business leaders are developing alternative financing models. They are also sharing “smart city” strategies that integrate technology into our infrastructure to improve efficiency and convenience.