New York (US), December 5: Years of delays and billions in overruns have presented a dismal history of the infrastructure sector of the United States, which is expected to last, or even deteriorate to say the worst, in the coming years, reported The New York Times last week.
"As the nation sets out on a national spending spree fueled by the 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden this month, the job ahead carries enormous risks that the projects will face the same kind of cost, schedule and technical problems that have hobbled ambitious efforts from New York to Seattle, delaying benefits to the public and driving up the price tag that taxpayers ultimately will bear," said the report.
The 1.2 trillion dollars package has bold goals, directing the majority of 500 billion dollars to highways, 39 billion dollars to urban transit, 65 billion dollars to broadband projects and 73 billion dollars to electrical grids, among other items. However, "even with the new infusion of money, analysts say it will be tough to ramp up infrastructure progress as swiftly as envisioned in the current timetable," the report stressed.
"Agencies have less internal technical talent. Legal challenges have grown stronger under state and federal environmental laws. And spending on infrastructure as a fraction of the economy has shrunk, giving local agencies less experience in modern practices," the report listed several major reasons behind its apparent pessimism.
Meanwhile, the construction industry is facing sharply growing costs for steel products, up by 142 percent in the last 12 months, and other key materials. Shortages of skilled labor are worsening, exacerbated by COVID-19-induced retirements, it added.
Source: Xinhua