Letting the nation’s roads and bridges deteriorate may worsen traffic congestion and add to our commuting woes, but when water and sewer systems begin to fail our very civilization is at risk. That is the message of a recent story in The Washington Post drawing attention to the alarming state of the nation’s water and sewer infrastructure. The story looks at the Washington D.C. system as a poster child for neglected and dilapidated municipal utilities. The average age of the District water pipes is 77 years and a great many were laid in the 19th century, notes the Post article. read more »
Seldom has public opinion and expert judgment been more unified than in its opposition to the California high-speed rail project. The project has been criticized by its own Peer Review Group, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), the California State Auditor, the State Treasurer and a group of independent experts (Enthoven, Grindley, Warren et al.). In addition, the bullet train has come under severe criticism by influential state legislators and by members of the state's congressional delegation. read more »
Overall migration rates in America appear to be down in the wake of the Great Recession, reaching the lowest levels recorded since the 1940's. While some statisticians argue that changes in data collection over time have led to an overstatement of such changes, there seems little doubt that "interstate migration has been trending downward for many years," regardless of recent recessionary effects. That said, Americans remain a mobile people. read more »
Our 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey included the Saginaw, Michigan metropolitan area, which we noted had the lowest Median Multiple (median house price divided by median household income) among the included 325 metropolitan areas. This made Saginaw the most affordable metropolitan market, principally due to depressed economic conditions. read more »
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones reports on the highly questionable "cost of alternatives" that has been routinely repeated by proponents of the California high speed rail project, in an article entitled "California High Speed Rail Even More Ridiculous than Before." read more »
Anyone familiar with housing affordability in the Washington (DC-VA-MD-WV) metropolitan area is aware that prices have risen strongly relative to incomes in the last decade.
However, a recent Washington Post commentary by Roger K. Lewis both exaggerates the contribution of higher construction costs and misses the principal factor that has driven up the price of housing: more restrictive land-use regulations. read more »
America has two basic economies, and the division increasingly defines its politics. One, concentrated on the coasts and in college towns, focuses on the business of images, digits and transactions. The other, located largely in the southeast, Texas and the Heartland, makes its living in more traditional industries, from agriculture and manufacturing to fossil fuel development. read more »
Keith Cline at Inc.com has a fresh look at one of the enduring, and perplexing, stories of 2011 — the skills shortage. Even with 13.3 million Americans unemployed, and millions more underemployed, there are industries severely lacking in skilled talent.
Cline provided five loose job titles/duties that employers will have a hard time filling as 2012 starts. Chief among them: software engineers and web developers. read more »