LONDON BRIDGE (WELL, MOST BRIDGES) FALLING DOWN
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|New York State is facing a fiscal problem bigger than ever before, Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch said at the opening keynote of the BuildingsNY/GreenBuildingsNY tradeshow yesterday. With less resources for discretionary spending, public infrastructure has been neglected, and now we're in a serious state of disrepair, he said.|
|This paragraph is best read with stress ball in hand. Public infrastructure is tied to our property values, and cities can't function without this infrastructure. About 75% of expenditures are made by the state, with a mere 25% coming from the federal government, he notes. Our economy is not growing as fast as our competition from around the globe—the Chinese spend 9% more on infrastructure than we do. Europe and Asia have fully automated ports, while we can't fit new tech containers into Newark; crumbling rail infrastructure has lead to more trucks on the road; and many bridges are nearing the age of usefulness. The MTA has a five-year plan to build new subway lines, buy new buses, and keep up maintenance, but much of this is unfunded right now.|
|Society has to devote more wealth in the decade ahead for public need, Richard said. (Above, he's cutting the welcoming ribbon into the tradeshow with ABO of Greater NY prez Jerome Belson, ABO's executive board, and JAD Corp employees). Failure to do so will mortgage the future for our children, who won't have the same opportunities we did, he warns. But he's optimistic, adding that US citizens have always been smart enough to address these problems, though sometimes it takes longer than we'd hope.|
|Despite the morning's solemn mood, we noticed more optimism and activity as we walked through the Javits Center, which showcased over 500 exhibitors with the latest in building technology and products for the innovation, greening, maintenance, renovation, and restoration of existing commercial and residential buildings. The show also offered free demos, networking, and educational tracks focusing on energy, building materials, policies and programs, and LEED.|