President Obama highlighted several important concepts in his speech: Not bigger. Smarter ...worthy of our children.
This last phrase in particular struck me. Just earlier that day, I listened to a panel of former administration officials, one of whom made an impassioned case for "building buildings that are worthy of the American people." Great, memorable buildings. Buildings that motivate Americans and represent who we are.
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As I listened to the President make his case to the American people, I realized that we needed to broaden this concept, and build an infrastructure that is worthy of the American people. One that is smart, innovative, energy efficient and more resilient to today's growing challenges. One that will help us mitigate the unexpected events that throw our cities off track — whether they be weather-related or otherwise. We need an infrastructure that will keep resilient for our future generation's growing electrical, data and security needs.
We need to cement America's rightful place at the head of the global competitive playing field.
There is funding available for infrastructure. Unfortunately, it only gets released during emergencies or disastrous events. No one is advocating that this emergency funding should not exist. But, there is a case to be made that investing in state of the art technology will better mitigate future challenges and actually lessen the increasing costs of fixing something that's "broke."
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That's what we mean by "smarter not bigger." It can help companies perform more competitively. It could put our city budgets back onto a more predictable financial road map.