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Infrastructure survey reveals U.S. weakness and need for clear vision

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — CG/LA Infrastructure LLC announced the results of its annual survey of public- and private-sector executives on the U.S. infrastructure market. Overall, the scores suggest that the United States is falling into second-rate status in the infrastructure arena, becoming a country that does not attract top-flight expertise or resources to its infrastructure business. In particular, responses on questions about leadership and vision yielded lower scores than any previously surveyed country.

Results were released ahead of next week’s third North America Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum, being held Oct. 11-13, 2011 in Washington D.C., an event that draws several hundred international infrastructure development companies, banks, and policymakers to develop expertise and collaborate on projects.

According to Norman F. Anderson, president and CEO of CG/LA Infrastructure, the survey paints a dark picture for U.S. infrastructure. “We have conducted this survey around the world, and the overall results for the U.S. are some of the lowest scores that we have seen. U.S. scores are on par with Peru, in terms of the country’s ability to develop infrastructure projects, and well below those of Brazil, India, China, and other countries with which we compete for scarce infrastructure dollars and expertise. Particularly in the wake of President Obama’s jobs plan and call for an infrastructure bank, the survey reveals the need for urgent action and a clear infrastructure strategy for the US.”

The Country Infrastructure Capacity (CIC) survey is a CG/LA proprietary tool initially developed with the World Economic Forum to score a country’s capacity to develop infrastructure projects. The CIC survey polls respondents on eight areas fundamental for infrastructure project development, calling for a ranking from 1 to 10, with scores below 7 indicating a failing grade.

The U.S. Score for 2011 is 43.8, compared with Brazil’s most recent score of 50.8 and India’s score of 51.3. Following are the United States’ scores in individual categories:
• Overall Vision (3.5);
• Public Sector Technical Capacity (4.95);
• Public Sector Strategic Capacity (4.45);
• Great Projects (6.64);
• Leadership (4.18);
• Long-term Project Performance (6.43);
• Engineering, Procurement, Construction firms (7.62);
• Local Equity Capacity (6.05).

Additional findings
Respondents were also asked to briefly describe business conditions in the infrastructure marketplace: 93 percent of executives surveyed said that business conditions in 2012 will be either the same, or slightly better, than 2011 — and virtually all participants said that 2011 is as bad as 2009, the dark year of the recession.

Aside from the extraordinarily low scores, there are a number of important findings. First, two scores — for overall vision and for leadership — are the lowest for any country surveyed. Second, on a positive note, the score for domestic engineering, procurement, and construction firms (EPC) is a passing grade, indicating confidence in the technical capabilities of the U.S. private sector to build necessary infrastructure projects.

Article Comments
  • tim stanton wrote on October 7, 2011, 13:23:

    The biggest drain on the constructing, maintaining and replacing of infrastructure are the environmental mandates. Why is there a water shortage in So. Cal. Why do projects get delayed for decades. If anyone is serious about spending on infrastructure they need to fight to change our environmental laws so they return to something reasonable.

  • steve kent wrote on October 6, 2011, 16:20:

    Please send me definitions or explanations of your infrastructure scoring categories. Your category titles do not correspond to those in ASCE studies.

  • Joseph Kopko wrote on October 6, 2011, 14:00:

    One of the best infrastructure investments that the government could make would be to set up a PPP for Freight Rail expansion throughout the country. This would have the multiple impacts of increasing employment for construction; reducing long haul truck traffic, thereby reducing maintenance and replacement costs for the interstate highway system; greatly reducing fuel consumption; and improving air quality.

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