One if by land, two if by air: Americas aging infrastructure

May 13, 2008May 15, 2008

Event Video


Session One: Tuesday, May 13th
Aviation Infrastructure
Dr. Clifford Winston
Senior Fellow
The Brookings Institution

Session Two: Thursday, May 15th
On the Road Again: America's Aging Roadways
Dr. Jonathan Gifford
Professor of Transportation
George Mason University
Center for Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics

America's current infrastructure is beginning to show its age and new policies need to be implemented to fix the growing problems. Both the President and Congress have acknowledged that there are problems with our current aviation infrastructure and are looking for ways to lessen the costs associated with flight delays while maintaining the industry's impeccable safety record. In addition, the Minnesota bridge collapse brought America's poorly kept up roadway system to the nation's attention. The Mercatus Center, at George Mason University, will host a two day course, featuring Dr. Clifford Winston and Dr. Jonathan Gifford to speak on these transportation infrastructure issues.

Dr. Winston, of The Brookings Institution, is editor of a recently published book examining aviation infrastructure and related issues throughout the world. His work looked at aviation operations in a wide range of countries from developed Western nations to China to developing nations in Africa and South America. He found that the United States and continental Europe are more likely to have delays and higher costs, while nations reforming their aviation network are decreasing the likelihood of delays and lowering costs. The findings point towards potential solutions which can save America billions of dollars in lost revenue each year, while still ensuring that air travel remains the safest way to get from point A to point B.

Dr. Gifford, a professor at George Mason University, will look at our aging highway system and make predictions and recommendations for what might happen in the coming decades. Already problems exist as congestion worsens and road maintenance lags behind schedule; however, there are solutions which can make driving safer and more efficient while keeping the costs of maintaining our roadway system down. He will show why a reassessment of highway system funding is needed, describe how new technologies will make road travel safer and more efficient, and will explain potential alternatives to roadway travel.

The speakers will address specific questions and concerns, such as:

  • What are the current shortcomings of America's aviation infrastructure? How can we follow the examples of other nations to fix our growing crisis?
  • Which problems with America's roadway system are most urgent? What can be done to fix these problems?
  • How can we ensure that these proposed changes won't threaten the safety of American travelers?