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From our Expert Voices conversation on Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria.

The road forward should be thought of in two phases: recovering now, and rebuilding for the future.

The island and the emergency workers are still in the early recovery phase, clearing debris and repairing roads for accessibility and distribution of essential supplies, as well as restoring power and water infrastructures. Right now the challenge is to accomplish these activities as quickly as possible. Little consideration should be given to cost—what matters now is avoiding preventable deaths and extreme hardship.

Once the later recovery phase starts, however, a paramount challenge is the long-term survivability of the rebuilt infrastructure. Recovery budgets should be deployed wisely, keeping in mind that Puerto Rico is bound to experience more extreme weather events in the future. A power grid that is underground will be much more resilient to high winds. Power and water infrastructures that are decentralized and decoupled are less likely to completely fail due to disruptions and critical components can be recovered faster to provide partial relief.

The bottom line: More weather events on the scale of Hurricane Maria are inevitable, so now is the time to put into place a resilient infrastructure to mitigate the human toll and economic impact of future storms.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

GOP state legislatures move to assert control over election systems

Contractors in Phoenix in May 2021 recounting ballots as part of a 2020 general election audit requested by the Arizona State Senate. Photo: Courtney Pedroza for the Washington Post

Republican-held state legislatures have passed bills that give lawmakers more power over the vote by stripping secretaries of state of their power, asserting control over election boards and creating easier methods to overturn election results, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The bills, triggered by baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, threaten to politicize traditionally non-partisan election functions by giving Republicans more control over election systems.

Attempting to reform gig work via co-ops

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ride-hailing service The Drivers Cooperative recently debuted in New York City, claiming that its lack of VC funding would result in better driver pay and lower passenger costs.

Why it matters: TDC’s approach is a direct rebuke to the venture capital-fueled gig economy model.