After the end of World War II, the United States committed $13 billion to rebuild the nations of Europe devastated by he war: ally and former foe alike. Even before the official Marshall Plan began, the US had already spent $12 billion in aid to rebuild Europe. All together, these aid expenditures over 7 years accounted for  nearly 10% of one year’s GDP at the time – what today would be over $1.3 trillion today. Although North America has not faced the same devastation of persistent military attacks experienced by Europe, we have suffered under decades of corporate raids of the public treasury and an undermining of public spending to such an extent that our infrastructure has languished.

Our economy today suffers from a deep recession. However, we also suffer from misplaced spending priorities and a misguided effort by predatory influences in government to undermine the crucial public spending which serves as an integral complement to private economic activity. These misplaced priorities led to the collapse of an interstate highway bridge in Minnesota in 2007, killing 13 and injuring 145. We can also attribute the devastation of the Katrina hurricane in 2005 to the failure to minimally maintain infrastructure under the stewardship of the federal Army Corps of Engineers. However, these misplaced priorities are also driven by the undue influence of the oil industry which pushes us toward transportation policy over reliant on private vehicles which leads to a vastly more costly transportation strategy, untold environmental damage, and nearly 40,000 fatalities per year. The unwise policies of the last half century have remolded our cities and towns from compact walkable and bike-able communities with very frequent mass transit into regions suffering from sprawling daily traffic snarls. Our time spent in transit has increased while the costs of transit have skyrocketed.

We need to reverse the misplace priorities of the last half century, modernize our infrastructure and transform it into green-friendly, sustainable, and renewable infrastructure which taxes the Earth less. As both a crucially needed economic stimulus and as an economic modernization, I propose we invest in the infrastructure of North America just as we invested in Europe at the end of World War II. By applying the same scale as the Marshall Plan we could spend over $1.3 trillion on North America’s infrastructure over the next seven years to bring our economy solidly into the 21st century. My plan involves upgrades to the US, Canada, and Mexico.

While the need for infrastructure investment is high, some of our commons are inappropriately privatized and we must socialize that infrastructure before using public funds to upgrade it. Currently predatory  influences in government collude with ignoble corporations to shuttle public funds to privatized commons. So we must pursue a strategy to socialize our commons along with this plan to modernize, upgrade, and enhance our infrastructure.

The center-piece of the plan will be an interstate and international high-speed rail network to connect together the cities and towns of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Within the US it will mirror the Interstate Highway System as proposed by President Eisenhower, however whereas the Interstate Highway System led to sprawl, the interstate high-speed rail network would bring passengers right into the reinvigorated centers of cities and towns and help foster compact pedestrian communities.

Augmenting the high-speed rail network would be major public investments in a high-voltage interstate electrical transmission system, desert solar power plants, pumped-storage hydroelectric projects and retrofits and rooftop solar systems for homes and other buildings.

Other targets for public investment:

  1. Transportation Infrastructure
    1. high-speed rail: mirroring our interstate highway system but with station stops focused on reinvigorated town and city-centers
    2. maglev Transrapid prototype project (fully funding the proposed Transrapid project for Pittsburgh Pennsylvania)
    3. electrification and upgrading of freight rail system
    4. pedestrian and bicycling improvements
    5. local mass transit improvements
    6. a seven-year moratorium on new highway construction and on rehabilitation except  for roads and bridges rated as structurally deficient

    (see Transportation Reform also)

  2. Energy Infrastructure
    1. high-voltage interstate electrical distribution
    2. energy retrofits and rooftop solar for homes and other buildings
    3. pumped-storage hydroelectric
    4. run-of-the-river hydroelectric
    5. desert solar installations

    (see Energy Reform also)

  3. Communications Infrastructure
    1. expand broadband internet to rural communities
    2. wireless cellular systems along freight and high-speed railways

    (see Media Reform also)

  4. Other Infrastructure
    1. flood control and levy system upgrades and renovations
    2. substantial investment in the Federally Hosted Intellectual Product Repository to get the project off the ground, especially in educational materials and curricula, election and voting software, contended network scheduling software, transparent and accountable governance systems, money and portfolio tracking software, and other commercial systems
  5. Education and Community Infrastructure
    1. new schools, community centers, cultural centers and renovations of existing centers
    2. broadband connections
    3. computer systems
    4. PCNC systems (personal computer numeric control systems for computerized control of machine tools)