- August 1, 2017: Vol. 10, Number 7

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If it’s broke, why can’t we fix it? U.S. infrastructure continues to degrade despite the obvious need for repairs

by Drew Campbell

As the editor of a U.S.-based publication focused on private investment in infrastructure, I often get asked, in one form or another, “Why can’t the United States get its act together and fix its infrastructure?”

That is more than a fair question, the premise of which is usually centered on the United States’ reputation as the world’s leading capitalist economy. “If private investment in infrastructure is going to work anywhere, it should work in the United States,” the thinking goes.

But as anyone who works with institutional investors allocating capital to infrastructure knows, the United States is a laggard in this field. Canada, Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom have much more experience in projects and investments for public use financed with private capital.

Why is this?

A big piece to understanding the U.S. infrastructure puzzle is to know how the country’s government is organized and how it operates. There

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