INFRASTRUCTURE FROM A GLOCAL PERSPECTIVE

Matt Chielpegian, Staff Writer

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In an ever-globalizing world, comparison between regions becomes easier, since different areas have a higher visibility or window to other cultures and their practices. Some of these interactions can be embarrassing. This is especially true of the United States and the matter of public infrastructure, with a particular deference towards public transportation. While our systems are regarded as appropriately built to sustain the potential natural disasters of our country (hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, etc), we lack a certain innovation and artistic inclination of other countries. Tokyo comes to mind. For serving a far larger (in terms of population, not landmass) metro area than any New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago, Tokyo trains are cheap, clean, and carry a striking silver bullet design. One of the main factors holding the United States back from global urban competitors is our federal government’s wariness to provide funding for these practices. However, rebuilding our infrastructure seems to be a bipartisan agenda item, with everyone from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders identifying this as an effective way to employ millions of Americans and improve the bones of our country at the same time, a la the Great Depression Tennessee Valley Authority-style programs.

One shining example of America trying to stay ahead of the curve with infrastructure (especially when it comes to public transportation) is the California High Speed Rail (or Bullet Train) Project. One doesn’t have to venture far Edison to see the work in progress: it is right in front of us on G Street. While the project has endured many roadblocks and is likely to clock in over budget, the seemingly attainable goal of connecting San Francisco’s Union Station with the Regional Transportation Intermodal Center down in Anaheim (by way of the Central Valley, providing great potential for employment and economic advances) has been enough to sustain support. It is often argued that it will be too costly, though I would argue that this will be a great achievement in bringing the 3rd largest state by land closer together. The state government certainly spends money on other project that do not carry this same tangible connection to the common taxpayer, and I think that element of the debate should not be overlooked.