The Strategic Top 100 North America is designed to identify projects – strategic projects – immediately necessary for revitalizing economic competitiveness and opportunity creation. The horizon for this vision needs to be 30-40 years, the lifespan of an average infrastructure project. What will the world look like in 2045? This Report outlines an integrated infrastructure vision that outlives administrations and reaches beyond political agendas, in order to realize this vision for the next generation.
Spotlight on Cities
North America is currently experiencing the highest rate of urbanization in history. The way that infrastructure is developed in cities in the coming years is critical. The 2014 Strategic Top 100 highlights cities that are getting it right by making long-term investments into the right projects. These cities are shifting resources towards Transport- Oriented Development (TOD) and sustainable practices; exploring innovative methods of financing and value capture; while applying a keen understanding of public life and its importance to planning and design. Public sector leaders in the cities highlighted below are creating a sustainable vision for transportation that will benefit not only the local population, but also increased economic competitiveness in the region.
Washington, DC has been a pioneer of TOD since the construction of its metro system in the 1970s. With ridership reaching 213.5 million trips per weekday, the Washington Metro is the second busiest public transit system in the US, surpassed only by the New York City subway. Maryland’s purple line moves beyond DC’s borders to connect cities. The US$2.2 billion project is structured as a P3 and includes 16 miles of light rail line extending from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County, and provides a direct connection to the Metrorail Red, Green and Orange Lines, as well as MARC and Amtrak.
DC Benning Road streetcar, due to open at the end of 2014, expand’s the cities public transit beyond the metro system along the city’s H street corridor. The ambitious 30 year vision includes 22 miles of dual/ single track fixed guideway and up to 15 additional miles of fixed guided track.
DC’s 11th street Bridge Park project brings human perspective and community involvement into infrastructure design. Project leaders engaged the Anacostia community in the design process, yielding a master plan that includes community playgrounds, conventional sports areas, an environmental education center, art facilities and urban agriculture center – encompassing a holistic design that incorporates economic development with urban renewal.
One of the key concepts of TOD is connectivity, and Los Angeles is planning to create an integrated, sustainable transit system. Beginning with one of the city’s iconic transit hubs, Union Station, the redevelopment master plan seeks to first honor the historic site and its surrounding neighborhoods, breathing new life into the area by creating numerous commercial sites, parks, and retail locations. The long-term plan will incorporate all transit modes, and eventually the California High Speed Rail. This project is also utilizing new methods of financing and funding, with US$403 million of the $1.7 billion project costs shared through a public-private partnership and cost-sharing agreements. The California High Speed Rail line, though highly polarized in public opinion, is another fundamental megaproject for future transportation opportunities for not only Los Angeles, but all of California. The Regional Connector will extend the Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District Station to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station. This extension will allow passengers to transfer to Blue, Expo, Red and Purple Lines, bypassing Union Station. It is through public ambition, strategic planning, and longterm vision that Los Angeles has set itself up to complete the most ambitious transit plan in the United States.
Important Strides in Infrastructure Leadership
On June 27, 2014, a new report was released that outlines innovative new ways that the federal government, industry leaders and other stakeholders can work together to solve the crisis of the failing state of U.S. infrastructure. Entitled “Making The Grade,” the report is the result of experts from 45 different organizations, including corporations, professional organizations, think tanks, financial advisors and academic institutions.
While much has been written and discussed about the problem, Making the Grade provides substantive recommendations and workable solutions to help meet today’s and tomorrow’s infrastructure needs, including:
- Making infrastructure a cabinet-level priority;
- Forming U.S. infrastructure regions;
- Establishing a national infrastructure bank;
- Selling “opportunity” bonds;
- Creating a national infrastructure index;
- Engaging the American people to build support for the importance of infrastructure policy.
Join the continued conversation at the 6th North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum during Making the Grade 2.5, an important luncheon panel discussion on Wednesday, October 28th!
About CG/LA Infrastructure
Infrastructure is a catalyst for progress and we believe that the right policies and projects create important opportunities for all. Our mission is to support the doubling of global infrastructure investment by 2020 and ensure that collectively, we receive the maximum benefit from that investment.