Survey: Where Are the High-priority Infrastructure Projects in America

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Connecting state and local government leaders

A list of the most pressing issues surrounding infrastructure implementation are listed as states prepare for funding.

A recent study conducted by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research surveyed 134 cities to identify the problem areas where infrastructure investments can help. Six challenges that predate the pandemic but have been exacerbated by it were pinpointed as things infrastructure improvements can address.

Racial inequity and economic mobility were mentioned alongside economic recovery from the pandemic. The other four were: geographic dispersal of opportunity, global competitiveness, digital transformation and climate change. 

The study aims to show issues that will be at the forefront of infrastructure investment. America’s urban and metropolitan divide is described as a hurdle to be addressed for constructive infrastructure. These challenges, along with a digital divide in the country are some problems to be solved for a fully effective infrastructure plan.  

Climate change was considered to be the biggest overarching infrastructure challenge, according to the report.  Plus the possibility of the U.S. losing its premier economic position in the world. 

As the Biden administration rolls out its roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan, state and local governments are analyzing where funds can be most effective. Officials around the country are preparing for an infrastructure plan upwards of $2 trillion

In addition to addressing all of the infrastructure challenges in America, the paper identifies what the researchers said are the three highest infrastructure priorities. “Essential infrastructure” is prioritized as well as climate resilience and urban-rural connections. Essential infrastructure is identified as broadband access, emergency response and public transportation for essential workers. Climate resilient infrastructure for public transit and clean water facilities were also stated as America’s top challenges. 

To see the full report click here.

Brent Woodie is an associate editor at Route Fifty.

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