The United States faces innumerable challenges. Policy experts could write entire treatises on all of these, but clear solutions may get lost in complicated or trivial details. As the Pareto principle reminds us, 80% of our results can be achieved by focusing 20% of our efforts on the most important activities.
So, what if we concentrated our labors on two pivotal problems that American resolve, innovation, and persistence can, and must, successfully tackle – transportation and energy.
Let’s start with transportation. The US transportation system of highways, bridges, tunnels, and railroads is stressed, strained, and badly in need of repairs and upgrades. 7 of the 10 most congested cities are on the East Coast and West Coast.
In fact, if you travel along the I-5 or I-95 corridors, you probably think that the 3 million large trucks in the US are directly in front of you. You may wonder why we don’t repair and expand the transportation system.
There are many reasons but consider the biggest, money. At least $2.6 trillion is necessary to bring our transportation and infrastructure system up to our expectations for efficiency and safety. Then, along the coast, such as the I-95 corridor on the East Coast, there is precious little land available for expansion and the rest is environmentally sensitive.