Streetfilms follows a journey that would have been impossible just a few years ago. […]
Is Naples, Florida really the happiest city in America? Perhaps we are not using the right criteria. […]
In December, when Musk got stuck in traffic, instead of leaning on the horn or flipping off the other drivers, he decided to build a new transportation system. An hour later, Max Chafkin writes in Bloomberg Businessweek, “the project had a name and a marketing platform. ‘It shall be called The Boring Company,’” Musk wrote.
Musk told employees to grab some heavy machinery and they began digging a hole in the SpaceX parking lot. He bought one of those machines that bores out tunnels and lays down concrete walls as it goes. It’s named Nannie.
Musk is the grown-up version of the kid who decides to dig to China: He doesn’t pause to plan or ask what’s possible, he just grabs a stick and starts shoveling. Maybe that’s the approach we need. As Chafkin points out, “Tunnel technology is older than rockets, and boring speeds are pretty much what they were 50 years ago.” And Bent Flyvbjerg, an academic who studies why big projects cost so much, says that the tunneling industry is ripe for someone with new ideas to shake things up.
Musk is a technical genius. But the things that make tunnels expensive tend to be political — they have to do with endless hearings before local government councils and concessions to satisfy concerned neighbors and politicians. For that stultifying process, at least, Musk’s new company is aptly named. If Musk figures out how disrupt local land-use politics, it would mean he’s smarter than anyone thinks.
The time is now for Donald Trump to take a stand in support of American workers by calling on Republican leadership in Congress to support strong Buy America requirements in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), also known as the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act (WIIN). Just one week ago in Cincinnati, President-elect Trump said his infrastructure plan would follow two simple rules: “Buy American and hire American.” I support that position, but unfortunately the Republican establishment in Washington didn’t hear him. They have removed my Buy America standard from water infrastructure legislation and Trump Tower has since remained silent. I believe that the iron and steel used in water infrastructure projects should be made in America and that taxpayer dollars should go to support American jobs and manufacturers, not be spent on Chinese or Russian iron and steel. My provision to require this was included in a version of the water infrastructure legislation that passed the Senate 95-3. However, Speaker Ryan and House Republicans removed this Buy America reform from the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act and there hasn’t been a peep, or tweet, from President-elect Trump. They have removed my Buy America standard from water infrastructure legislation and Trump Tower has since remained silent. It is clear to me, and it should be clear to President-elect Trump as well, that Congressional Republicans are allowing corporate lobbyists working on behalf of companies who import steel from Russia and China to write the rules in Washington. Importers of cheap foreign steel from China and Russia have sought to eliminate or loosen these rules for their own benefit. According to media reports, including the Wall Street Journal, the importers and their foreign suppliers have hired the Washington, D.C. […]
Louisiana’s flood couldn’t have been stopped, but it didn’t have to be so devastating
Louisiana’s Amite river basin, which flooded and destroyed 60,000 homes earlier this month, is surrounded by deserted flood control projects that were begun after a massive flood in 1983. All that proposed infrastructure could have saved thousands of homes — but the Amite River Basin Commission left them either half-baked, or never started them in the first place.
As The Advocate reports, a proposed Comite River Diversion Canal may have saved “up to a quarter of homes damaged in the basin,” according to a government official. That’s just one of several pieces of infrastructure — including a reservoir and additional levees — that had been deemed unfeasible or simply “impractical.”
Worse, nothing was done to stop new housing from being built in the path of the old flood. Between 1980 and 2015, the number of people living in Livingston and Ascension, two parishes on the floodplain, went from 109,000 in 1980 to more than a quarter-million in 2015.
Climate change made this flood much worse than it would have been, but poor infrastructure and city planning are as much to blame for the devastation it caused.
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