Apr 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

Coronavirus crisis could provide opportunity to prepare America's infrastructure for the future

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The next round of coronavirus economic stimulus could include money to rebuild the nation's roads and bridges, similar to the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 that put millions of people to work building U.S. interstates.

Why it matters: America's crumbling bridges are in desperate need of repair, it's true. But this is also an opportunity to make sure we have the necessary infrastructure to support tomorrow's transportation needs.

What's needed: In a note to clients, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas suggests "10 things we gotta get right" in any potential infrastructure-related stimulus plan.

  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Upgrades to the nation's electrical grid
  • Battery manufacturing
  • Battery recycling
  • Renewable power
  • 5G networks for connected, automated vehicles
  • Hydrogen fuel networks
  • High-speed rail and hyperloop
  • Skyports for flying cars
  • Space launch facilities and spaceports

My thought bubble: We'll be lucky to get even a few of those done. Let's focus on EV charging and vehicle connectivity to start.

Go deeper

House Democrats make their move with $500 billion transit proposal

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats unveiled a five-year, roughly $500 billion transportation proposal Wednesday aimed at bolstering mass transit and creating carbon-cutting initiatives.

Why it matters: The bill arrives as mass transit agencies are struggling with a collapse in ridership from the coronavirus pandemic, and facing a tough future as social distancing will require reduced capacity and virus-wary riders may stay away in favor of cars.

As techlash heats up again, here's who's stoking the fire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.

Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being told for months to stay away from others, the idea of being shoulder to shoulder again in a bus or subway terrifies many people, requiring sweeping changes to public transit systems for the COVID-19 era.

Why it matters: Cities can't come close to resuming normal economic activity until large numbers of people feel comfortable using public transportation.