by Jennifer Donovan
A Bandaid can help heal a cut, but it won't hold America's infrastructure together. What we need, says Bruce Seely, is a new way of thinking about—and paying for—the transportation systems that enable today's—and tomorrow's—society and economy to function.
Seely, dean of Michigan Tech's College of Sciences and Arts and a historian of technology, is an expert on infrastructure. In fact, he wrote the book, Building the American Highway System: Engineers as Policymakers, which examines the topic, and he has testified before Congress about infrastructure issues.
What is infrastructure? It's mass transportation, the electric power grid, telephone lines and cell phone towers, and water and sewer systems. And roads. The interstate highway system, conceived in the 1930s, begun in the 1950s, essentially completed in the 1990s, is a poster child for infrastructure: a big, complex, expensive network that determines the scope and direction of . . .