More: Before you get too excited about the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill …

WSJ: Strong leadership will be essential to ensure the projects are completed on time and on budget.

Yesterday we tried to rein in infrastructure bill excitement since:

  • Less than half of the trillion dollars is going to roads, bridges, electrical grid and other “hard” infrastructure
  • Save for Eisenhower’s interstate highways and Kennedy’s moon landing, the Federal government’s recent track record on big projects  is less than stellar. Think: “shovel ready”, “cash for clunkers”. Solyndra and the SoCal-to-Vegas bullet train

On cue, the WSJ ran a Harvard prof’s op-ed: “Don’t Let the Infrastructure Bill Become a Boondoggle”.

The article highlighted the infrastructure’ bill’s size and complexity, its political overtones … and the need for strong managerial leadership.

Here’s a condensed version…


An Analogy

Boston’s Big Dig highway project began in 1991.

It was supposed to have been completed in 1998 at a cost of $2.8 billion.

Instead, it wasn’t finished until 2007, and the total cost (including debt financing) has been estimated at around $23 billion.

The project improved Boston, but its legacy was tarnished by waste, corruption, design flaws and poor execution

Once Pres. Biden signs the bill into law, the true work of fixing our infrastructure will begin.

The bill could easily lead to out-of-control costs, blown deadlines, and both real and metaphorical bridges to nowhere.


The Infrastructure Bill

At more than $1 trillion, the size and complexity of the infrastructure bill guarantee that it will be difficult to implement.

The plan will involve nearly every corner of the often unwieldy government bureaucracy.

Large-scale projects inevitably provoke battles for funding and cause confusion over who is doing what to carry out the plan and time-wasting arguments over jurisdiction.


The Need for Leadership

Successfully enacting the provisions of the infrastructure bill requires leaders who can:

  • Break tasks down into deliverable items
  • Create teams with clear responsibilities
  • Establish milestones and measures
  • Hold people accountable

Biden will probably appoint a series of czars to oversee different parts of the bill.

He needs to resist appointing political leaders who lack experience managing large bureaucratic organizations..

President Biden must assemble a great team of leaders.


Color me pessimistic

Keep in mind :

> 55% of Americans say the Biden administration is not “competent in running the government.” Source

> There’s just cause for the rating: the border, the Afghan withdrawal, the snarled supply chain, soaring energy costs, etc.

> Biden has already assembled a team that can’t shoot straight:

  • Harris … who has done such a great job as Border Czar
  • Buttiigieg … when he makes it into the office
  • Raimondo … who says there’s nothing that can be done to unjam the supply chain
  • Granholm (who laughs off our surging gas prices)?

In the sage words of former President Obama: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up.”

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