Public Infrastructure is not a “Progressive” Abomination

President Biden spent a surprising amount of time during his belated first press conference talking about infrastructure. Many of the points Biden made echoed remarks Trump has also made. Paraphrasing from the transcript, about 53 minutes into his press conference, Biden said:

“We are now ranked 85th in the world in infrastructure. The future rests on whether or not we have the best airports that are going to accommodate air travel. Ports that you can get in and out of quickly. What’s the first thing that business asked? What’s the closest access to an interstate highway? How far am I from a freight rail? Is there enough water available for me to conduct my business?”

Biden’s solutions won’t be ideal. If work is authorized by Congress, it will be padded with hundreds of billions going to the public bureaucracies and to the inevitable environmentalist litigants. The work itself will be done under project labor agreements that will also add hundreds of billions in costs. And additional hundreds of billions will be wasted on absurdities, such as “sequestration” projects to inject CO2 into underground caverns.

If Trump were able to manage federal investment in infrastructure in a 2nd term, he would have set more useful priorities. He would have prioritized airports, seaports, roads, rail, the power grid, and he would have fought the pet projects of environmentalists and their corporate allies. He would respect labor, but he’d be a tough negotiator, and he would have hammered on the construction contractors […] Read More

Libertarians and Public Infrastructure

Shane Hazel is the most famous libertarian in America. Now known as “The man who cost Republicans the U.S. Senate,” Hazel achieved his instant national fame, or infamy, depending on who you ask, by running as a Libertarian last November against David Perdue and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia’s U.S. Senate race. Hazel earned 2.3 percent of the vote, which threw into a runoff the race that Perdue had come within 0.3 percent of winning. Perdue lost the runoff, and the rest is history.

In defeat, Hazel scored a remarkable victory. He served notice to Republicans that if their congressional voting record is comparable to liberal democrats, and Perdue’s was, they’ll get knocked off by a third party candidate that promises to uphold the U.S. Constitution. That’s a tough lesson.

If your preference is to reform the Republican party from the inside, thus preserving its viability against an even more dangerous Democratic party, it’s hard to accept the decision by Libertarians to run candidates in close races. Hazel appeared to rub it in when Reason quoted him saying “Give me your tears. They are delicious.” In response, in several recent articles I referenced Hazel, in unflattering terms, as a prime example of how Libertarians are enabling Democrat victories.

These criticisms, directed at Libertarians in general, and Hazel in particular, earned me an invitation from Hazel to appear on his podcast. We spoke a few days later, on February 25. During an 81 minute […] Read More

The Enemies of American Infrastructure

Between 2008 and 2019, China opened up 33 high speed rail routes, connecting 39 major cities along four north-south and four east-west main lines. The 18,000 mile network runs trains at an average speed of around 200 miles per hour. By 2030, the Chinese expect to double the mileage of their high speed rail network by expanding to eight north-south and eight east-west main lines. In less than 20 years, the Chinese have completely transformed their rail transportation network.

This is typical for the Chinese. China is also building three new airports – offshore. Dalian, along the north coast opposite the Korean peninsula, Xiang’an, on the central coast facing Taiwan, and Sanya, off the coast of Hainan Island in the strategic South China Sea. All three airports are to be built to the highest international levels, with 12,000 foot runways able to accommodate the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner. All three are built on “reclaimed land,” i.e., the Chinese intend to bulldoze a few mountains into the ocean and flatten them into runways. And all three, from start to finish, will be built in under ten years.

China’s ability to construct big infrastructure, fast, is beyond debate. The Three Gorges Project, the largest dam in the world, created a deep water reservoir an astonishing 1,400 miles long. Its hydroelectric capacity of 22.5 gigawatts is the largest in the world. This massive construction project was done, from start to finish, in 12 years.

While […] Read More