Thursday, July 19, 2007

Do Asia and Europe Do It Better?

Over at Daily Kos after the fifth rail diary, there was a comment by poster Konko that struck me. In it he lays out the reasons why Asia and Europe can get large rail infrastructure projects done faster and more efficiently. Headers include; experience and expertise, modularized fast track construction, and better project management and accounting procedures.

So I believe experience is the critical factor and those companies with expertise and a track record should be the first choice to make projects on time, on budget and with good quality. Americans would be smart to put these foriegn firms in competition on projects and to study the methods they use, just as these countries studied British and American steel and rail industries a century ago.

But I'm not sure if I agree with him on the post as a whole, just parts. I'd like to see it fleshed out more with links to papers and documents before I accept it as gospel. I'm inclined to think its true, but not sure. There are a lot of factors that lead to construction issues. Stacey Witback is getting really good with the streetcar construction and the time it takes. I will agree that we need to learn more on cost saving measures. There are a lot of things we need to do to keep from gold plating, but the companies doing infrastructure projects here have been doing them a long time and leading the way. But if he's right, then we do need to let foreign companies try and compete if they can do it better. I'm not sure if they would even want to work here under the political conditions of these large projects usually given out to the good ole boy network, but we sure could learn a lot from them.

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