The crumbling US infrastructure

posted in: Economics | 1

I’ve written and taught before on the problem of obsolete and decrepit infrastructure in the US (and UK). Each trip to New York confirms, depressingly, that things are getting worse. Even walking along Fifth Avenue you notice the uneven roads, scuffed pavement (UK and US sense) and general disrepair.

But in the West Village I saw an actual hole in the road, just sitting there, very dark, like an urban rabbit hole. There was a line painted round it that suggested somebody had noticed but it looked very old, as if nothing would be done until the road was big enough to swallow a bus (which has happened several times in the UK, when the aged Victorian sewers collapse, taking a section of the road with them). Here’s what it looks like:

I’m very fond of the US and New York City in particular. So I wince when I see the deterioration in so many areas of life there. Taking the bus back to Newark Airport (making sure I spend the University of Cambridge’s money wisely) was comic and sad. Repeatedly passengers got on the bus puzzled about where to pay, because there was only a small, tatty handwritten sign on a wall explaining that you pay on the bus. The driver was rude, perverse and incomprehensible. A stream of European got onto the bus with a look that said “THIS is the world’s richest country? The statistics are misleading us.” Italy is a giant mess and the Germans are taking us to disaster but the infrastructure is so much better there. Even Heathrow looks good compared with Kennedy (Newark is a bit better). And Americans arriving at Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong must just weep…

  1. Lesley

    I took a few Londoners to Shenzhen and Hong Kong, they almost started weeping when they went into the underground…

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