Michigan’s new international bridge crossing, Canadian pipelines, an Ontario nuclear plant, and high-speed rail in California are among the North American megaprojects likely to pack the continent’s biggest economic punch in the years to come.
|The Top 100 infrastructure projects in North American include the Columbia River Crossing between Oregon and Washington State.|
With all of that steel and concrete will come more than six million direct jobs, most of them created in the next 24 months, and up to 12 million indirect jobs fueled by tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
So concludes CG/LA Infrastructure Inc. in its fourth annual selection of the Top 100 strategic infrastructure projects in North America.
“By ‘strategic infrastructure,’ we mean those projects that are critical to productivity and to the long-term competitiveness of a country or region,” said the Washington, DC-based consulting firm. “These are projects that optimize job creation.”
The report calls for a new, proactive “consensus vision for North American infrastructure.”
“Currently, we are building our economic rebound on an infrastructure matrix that was designed 60 years ago—highways, electricity, ports and logistics—for a world that no longer exists,” the report says.
JG Howes / Wikimedia Commons
|Amtrak’s Gateway Project in the Northeast Corridor will cost $14.5 billion.|
“In many ways, North America is like the IBM of the early 1990s—a region that, because we are trapped in a deeply invested infrastructure matrix, is not responding as quickly as it must to the highly dynamic forces of globalization."
A new vision “would drive a priority list of projects” on a cost/benefit basis that would become an “economic security imperative,” CG/LA said.
CG/LA selected its Top 100 Projects using five criteria:
• Business Opportunity: The likelihood of a feasibility study, RFI, bid or other “business event” in the next three to 12 months;
• Productivity Creation: The project must generate an “outsize contribution to productivity”;
• Competitiveness Creation: The project drives global competitiveness (by, for example, exporting LNG or spurring freight rail improvements);
• Job creation, which tends to favor large projects; and
• Green/new infrastructure, which tends to favor carbon-light and technologically driven projects.
“Infrastructure planning design and construction is at an inflection point," said Terry Bennet, Senior Industry Program Manager of Autodesk Inc., a provider of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.
The industry is shifting "from decades-old design and construction tools with century-old work processes, to [a] faster, more efficient model-based process," said Bennet.
That allows stakeholders "to dream big while solving infrastructure challenges quickly, efficiently, cost effectively and with more information about the intended outcomes than ever before.”
The Top 100 list includes projects in the electricity, ports and logistics, oil and gas, surface transportation and other sectors. The projects are ranked alphabetically by sector, not by their size or economic impact.
|“Currently, we are building our economic rebound on an infrastructure matrix that was designed 60 years ago… for a world that no longer exists,” the report says.|
Bridges account for 10 percent of the projects. They include the $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing in Oregon and Washington State; the New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario; and New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge Project.
Amtrak’s $40 billion Northeast Corridor project is also on the list, as is San Francisco’s $7 billion sewer improvement program.