US should not just fix infrastructure or stimulate the economy but fund massive leapfrog technology with large competitive prizes and goals

From 2016 to 2025, each household will lose $3,400 each year in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies; and if not addressed, the loss will grow to an average of $5,100 annually from 2026 to 2040, resulting in cumulative losses up to almost $34,000 per household from 2016 to 2025 and almost $111,000 from 2016 to 2040 (all dollars in 2015 value).

Over time, these impacts will also affect businesses’ ability to provide well-paying jobs, further reducing incomes. If this investment gap is not addressed throughout the nation’s infrastructure sectors by 2025, the economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP, resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025.

The 2016 Failure to Act analysis indicates that the overall infrastructure gap has grown relative to the initial reports. However, recent federal, state and local investments are stabilizing the gap and moderating the potential economic losses from growing more significantly.

Is there really a $1.44 trillion gap ? About 70% of it is for more roads and transportation. But and MIT study found that 95 percent of New York transportation demand would be covered by just 2,000 ten-person vehicles, compared to the nearly 14,000 taxis that currently operate in New York City. Ride sharing and robotic cars could reduce traffic and reduce the need for increased roads.

The first of the Obama administration’s stimulus bills – the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — pledged to go heavy on shovel-ready construction projects that would result in thousands of work opportunities. But neither happened. The president later joked that the shovels, it seems, weren’t ready. Perhaps he was waiting for them to be shipped from China!

Even if the shovel-ready construction jobs were for real, how many American workers are even trained to do them?

What went wrong with the shovel ready infrastructure building ?

Of the $831 billion in the 2009 stimulus, $105 billion was spent on infrastructure $48 billion (transportation), 18 billion of sewers and water, $21 billion on energy, $27 billion on energy efficiency.

The failure of the stimulus was it was too spread out and untargeted. $116 billion in tax credits that amounted to $10 per week. It often seemed that the stimulus was providing money for everything. Instead of investing in a few marquee projects, Congress tried to make the stimulus a cure-all.

Delays meant that by the end of July 2009, only 20% of highway projects had started, according to DOT data. More and more, it appeared that what “shovel ready” really meant was ready for politicians to pose with a shovel for a photo op.

China is able to complete big infrastructure projects on time and budget and uses this ability to build big at home and abroad

China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative is at the center of Asia’s infrastructure buildout. Geographically, OBOR could span 65 countries responsible for roughly 70 percent of the world’s population. Economically, it could include Chinese investments approaching $4 trillion.

Asia’s infrastructure market is growing by 8 percent annually over the next decade, rising to nearly 60 percent of the global total. All told, the region’s infrastructure needs are estimated to exceed $1 trillion annually.

China is spending about $5 trillion per year to build inside China each year. China builds or improves urban areas. They add about the area and population of Los Angeles each year. China builds a lot of high speed rail, new grid, regular rail, highways, energy plants, bridges etc…

In terms of large difference making infrastructure projects, China has a multi-year effort to integrate the cities into megacity regions
* around Shanghai into the Yangtze river delta regions
* around Beijing into the Jinj-Jin-Ji
* around Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen into the Pearl River Delta region

China will spend over $300 billion to integrate Hong Kong and Shenzhen and the other cities of the Pearl River delta. It should have about 80 million people in ten to fifteen years. This would be about the population of Germany

There are about 170 million people in the Yangtze river delta area now but should have about 260 million in ten to fifteen years as the full integration is achieved. With 20% of the GDP of China, this area already has about $2.2 to 2.5 trillion (nominal) in GDP and should be about $3 to 3.5 trillion in 2020 and about the level of Japan’s GDP before 2030.

China has projects where travel times can be cut from 12 hours to two hours. This can be done with long bridges, tunnels and/or high speed rail

China takes what they do best and then boost it with a few trillion dollars and long term commitment.

The US needs to take what it does best and boost it.

The US best is Google, Amazon, Elon Musk, GE, Xprizes, DARPA, Silicon Valley and other technological winners.

High tech Megaprojects that would make a difference for the USA

In terms of projects, where could the US invest to drastically reduce time wasted on commuter travel or boost productivity.

A traditional infrastructure plan that invests in roads and bridges could increase employment in the short term, but the incoming Trump administration and new Congress also should focus on “innovation infrastructure” to spur long-term economic growth, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). ITIF, the leading U.S. science and tech policy think tank, urges policymakers to invest in the building blocks of innovation—such as R and D and tech-enabled “smart” infrastructure—because they can serve as the foundation of a more robust economy in the long run.

Accelerate Leapfrogging Future technology Winners like Amazon, Google, GE, Nvidia, Elon Musk and have supersized Xprizes

Boosting GDP is about accelerating an economy. Enable more and faster transactions to occur.

* Smart Cities
* Drone delivery – blimp warehouses
* Accelerate deployment of Multi-gigabit wireless communication
* Industrial Internet
* Use big goals and prizes that pay for results. Rewards winners with funding and clear away regulations that enable faster deployment and rapid scaling (supersize Xprizes)

A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets – the city’s assets include, but are not limited to, local departments’ information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services. The goal of building a smart city is to improve quality of life by using urban informatics and technology to improve the efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs

Amazon had the vision of flying warehouses to deliver products via drones within 20-30 minutes anywhere in cities

GE recently discussed an Industrial Internet which could add $10-15 trillion (£6-9 trillion) to global GDP by 2030 (37 pages)

Economic Xprizes with government funds and DARPA for economic productivity

Use economic version of DARPA to research and develop ground breaking technology that can boost the economy and boost productivity.

Can online training and virtual apprenticeships and other technology be used to massively accelerate effective new training and retraining.