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What it will take to build world-class infrastructure in the U.S. 47:20
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In an aerial view, vehicles on Interstate 95 travel past a construction project to add three lanes to the I-95 Rappahannock River Crossing in Fredericksburg, Virginia. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
In an aerial view, vehicles on Interstate 95 travel past a construction project to add three lanes to the I-95 Rappahannock River Crossing in Fredericksburg, Virginia. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden made a bold claim when he signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law.

“Because of this law, next year will be the first year in 20 years that American infrastructure investment will grow faster than China’s, for example," Biden said. "And we’ll once again have the best roads, bridges, ports, and airports.”

Will we? Really?

"In China, the Chinese government can just say, ‘We're going to do this and everyone along the way, you just have to move. And we're going to compensate you, but you don't have a choice.’ You know, some people suffer, but some people benefit from that," Nancy Qian says.

"In the U.S., we can't do that," she adds. "We have to have every local government and state government coordinate. And you can imagine how difficult that is for anything.”

Today, On Point: Fact-checking Biden's bold claim, and what it will really take for the U.S. to once again have world-class infrastructure.

Guests

Nancy Qian, professor in the Kellogg School of Management Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences.

Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy at the Center for American Progress. (@kevin_degood)

Also Featured

June Zhu, a Shanghai resident.


Read: On the Road: Access to Transportation Infrastructure and Economic Growth in China.


From The Reading List

Wall Street Journal: "What the U.S. Can Learn From China’s Infatuation With Infrastructure" — "Even China’s staunchest critics express awe at its capacity to build bridges, railways and other infrastructure, feats of engineering made possible by a command-style political system."

Council on Foreign Relations: "The State of U.S. Infrastructure" — "Experts say that U.S. infrastructure is both dangerously overstretched and lagging behind that of its economic competitors, particularly China."

This program aired on November 24, 2021.

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