The American infrstructure cheerleaders have a wish list, nearly a half-trillion dollars worth. They should learn to think BIG, like those Wall Streeters who are nearly their second trillion dollars of government case without a single shovel-ready project. Weell, there were some small grave-digging projects for the likes of BearStearns, et al.
The cheerleaders would be North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum (NALF). It's a conference set for Moneybag City* later this year. *Washington D.C. The forum is in September. That forum is being run by CG/LA.
Their wish list is for $465 billion worth of projects. The Top 100 projects were identified as possessing three specific criteria: (1) strong probability of going forward in the next 12 months; (2) critical as building blocks for US competitiveness; and (3) strong relevance to the Obama government’s ‘connect the dots’ infrastructure priorities. Highlights are the following:
Smart Grid: Best understood as the operating system for the new economy, what Warren Buffet calls ‘the single most important investment in the US economy.’ Fourteen of the 100 projects are tied to the Smart Grid, either directly or through the projects that the Grid enables, including: 6 transmission projects ($25.1 billion), lead by the Midwest’s Green Power Express project; and 8 renewable energy projects ($15.3 billion), including wind, solar and energy efficiency, the largest of which is T. Boone Picken’s Pampa, Texas, project.
New Infrastructure: Infrastructure meant to serve as “building blocks” – a model both in terms of finance and physical capacity creation - for a globally competitive US economy. These projects are largely “carbon-neutral” - electricity rather than liquids powered - including: 6 high speed passenger rail projects ($109.4 billion, the largest spend by far on our list), lead by the San Francisco/Los Angeles and Midwest Rail Initiative; and 18 urban mass transit projects ($44.4 billion) including Michigan’s Regional Rail Link and Northern Virginia’s Dulles Access Corridor project. The visionary $10 billion electric freight rail initiative would also fall into this category.
Then they ask for billions more for traditional infrastructure like roads and gas pipelines. All this is wrapped in promises of jobs, jobs, jobs. They say "Roughly 2 million new jobs would be created each year from 2010 through 2014, directly and indirectly, through the development of these 100 strategic infrastructure projects, including jobs in:
• Smart Grid: 839,000 job years
• New Infrastructure: 3.2 million job years
• Traditional Infrastructure: 3.03 million job years."
No word on how much greenhouse gas emission all this construction would create. The NALF does not prescribe where they want this money to come from. But you can bet it won't be loans from Bank of America or Goldman Sachs.