Hurricane Sandy’s Legacy

Now that Hurricane Sandy is moving beyond the local destruction it left it  is time to rethink our investment priorities.  A commitment to improve and harden the nation’s infrastructure could be contemplated.

Of course, there are many factors to consider.  But in the context laid out by the following bullet points, perhaps a path forward is implied.

  • The cost of restoring existing services, electrical, transportation & communications.  This cost is near 100% a one-time cost, meaning it contributes nothing to the long-term stability and reliability of the plant.
  • The fact that restoration returns the infrastructure to the same level of vulnerability presently extant.
  • That the human resources called to perform herculean effort are always drawn from jurisdictions less-affected by the current crises, and therefore the support of those jurisdictions is reduced.

Considering all the above, it is immediately clear that current infrastructure management practice fails to properly include all costs into the equation.

At such a moment, a leader might propose a Kennedy-esque “mission-to-the-moon” venture to harden the nations infrastructure.

Such an effort would provide many benefits:

  • reduced future downtime of power, transport and other shared systems, and the associated foregone costs.
  • money spent thus hardening the infrastructure would increase local employment. In other words, a huge jobs program.

So my proposal would be a Kennedy-style trip to the moon.  Invest in infrastructure that was impervious to weather.