Think about the past 12 months and the things that mattered most to you during that time: health, wellbeing, communications, peace of mind. These are the things that under normal circumstance we tend to take for granted.
Now think about how often you had to pay mind to these things during that same time—how often achieving them presented a challenge for you, for loved ones, for society at-large. Think about the healthcare facilities that were woefully under supplied, energy grids that failed at the most critical moments, and, more recently, logistical flaws that have slowed the rollout of critical vaccines.
While these may seem like isolated events, they are, in fact, outcomes of something much larger at play—a fundamentally flawed infrastructure in the United States. It’s a scenario that has been building for quite some time due to continual underinvestment and deferred maintenance. A recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers claims that infrastructure inadequacies will slow U.S. economic growth, resulting in the loss of $10 trillion in GDP and decline of more than $23 trillion in business productivity cumulatively over the next two decades.
To put it bluntly, compared to the rest of the world we are failing. The United States ranks 13th in the world in terms of infrastructure quality, according to the World Economic Forum.
Numbers like that can be hard to envision—until now. What has come into clear focus over these past 12 months is just how fundamentally flawed systems like transportation, wellness, energy, communications, and mobility have become. In years past, failures of such systems felt like a blip, but today are more like gut punches.
So, what comes next? In a word, investment -- specifically investment in the people, products, and processes that will take us where we need to be. Infrastructure investment will be the great enabler for a much happier and healthier lifestyle.
Regardless of where you stand on the $2 trillion infrastructure proposal from the Biden Administration, it’s hard to argue with the fact that time to invest and engage in the renewal and modernization of our infrastructure is now.
It’s time to stop accepting below average grades when it comes to the roads and bridges upon which we travel daily. It’s time to stop wringing our collective hands at yet another energy crisis that could have been avoided. It’s time to ask the question why every person in this country can’t be afforded access to broadband internet.
This is a call to all the doers, educators, enablers, and investors—the time to build is now. The time to create the opportunities that get everyone excited about what lies ahead has arrived.