Monday, November 24, 2014

The Beauty of ‘Infrastructure’ - WSJ

The Beauty of ‘Infrastructure’ - WSJ: "What are some of the most ambitious infrastructure projects under way in the U.S.?

 I take a broad view of the term infrastructure—not just big civil-engineering projects such as bridges and highways but all of the technological systems that support modern civilization. Given this definition, I think one could make a strong case that the biggest project is the ongoing expansion and replacement of the communications network, driven by the adoption of Internet standards and cellular-telephone technology. It’s really quite amazing. It took almost 100 years to wire the country the first time, with copper wires strung on wood poles for the first telegraph and telephone networks. We’ve torn all that down and replaced it at least three times, first with microwaves, then with satellites, then with optical fibers.

In terms of more conventional infrastructure, I would point to the dredging and refitting of ports up and down the East Coast to accommodate the new “post-Panamax” container ships. Perhaps the most dramatic example is in New York, where we need to raise the deck of the Bayonne Bridge to let the taller ships pass under it to the docks in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J."