Infrastructure money moving out of the US?

Global accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young are predicting a weakening US economy if infrastructure maintenance and development spending does not increase.  While E & Y do make money from bond issues and lending associated with such projects the information they gathered in a survey over the past year is above the typical “the bridges are failing” rhetoric often heard about infrastructure spending.  The warning comes from a report to urban planners, real estate developers, investors and architects at the Urban Land Institute in Phoenix, AZ. The ULI and Ernst & Young released the latest results of their global infrastructure survey on Monday of this week. Click here for the report.

One key finding was that US funding is losing out to overseas capital projects.  Information gathered by E & Y indicates institutional investors will be increasing their allocations to infrastructure funding five-fold over the next 15 years.  The majority of this money come from US investors but it is being used in Asia, Europe and Latin America where planning for large projects is moving forward at a faster pace.

Essentially, money if moving to the projects, and the larger, investment-grade, infrastructure projects are happening in other countries.

Inspector America television show

The term infrastructure has been used since 1927 to refer collectively to the railways, highways, roads, bridges, and similar public systems used by an industrial economy to function. Infrastructure evolved into a military term describing the bases and installations supporting national defense. Infra in Latin means under.  Modern use has spread to twist the word into meaning any system or structures that support modern economic, social and political life.

The History Channel is now running shows that highlight, some might say expose, infrastructure issues in the United States. Inspector America is an attempt at discussing infrastructure in a television format made popular by shows that focus on home inspections, renovation problems and landscaping dilemas.

Inspector America infrastructure

Hosted by Timothy Galarnyk, the show can be seen on cable television and online (by using part of the communication infrastructure).  Galarnyk is a construction manager and inspector. Upcoming episodes can be found here.


Japan map

The massive earthquake, tsunami and the resulting problems in nuclear generation facilities, power grid, transportation, housing and healthcare systems have shaken Japan literally and figuratively. The loss of life and destruction has and will have long term impacts on the country and region as Japan recovers and then begins to rebuild. The major news media have done a fairly good job of describing and illustrating the devastation but it is hard to imagine the scale and scope of the tragedy from thousands of miles away.

A great deal more information is available: Reuters, Google, The Guardian on the economic impact, The New York Times on the impact to Japanese families, and more.