Americans who travel abroad sometimes wonder why many of our airports are lacking in comparison to the best international airports. Or they want to know why other nations seem to do a better job with public transportation and the management of other public assets, from ports to parks. The answers we are tempted to give are that we do not invest as heavily in public infrastructure as many other nations and that a market-oriented American ethos with an entrepreneurial culture prefers private solutions (cars versus trains) to public ones. These answers are certainly part of the story.
I am a strategic advisor, author, and columnist. During a 35-year career in urban development I created Reinvestment Fund, one of the nation’s most effective community investment institutions, chaired the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and provided strategic advice to philanthropies, universities, and private companies.