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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How To Prepare For The Next Superstorm Sandy

Road construction signs are seen in April, in Springfield, Ill. Much of America’s infrastructure, including its interstate highway system, is more than half a century old and in need of serious work to keep pace with a rising population. (Seth Perlman/AP)

Journalist and author David Cay Johnston has said both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo could become president, if they follow through on promises made to recover from Sandy, such as getting utilities to get the power back on faster.

But keeping recovery promises is going to be costly.

Cuomo has said it will take $42 billion for New York to bounce back. Christie has estimated that Sandy caused at least $37 billion in damages in New Jersey.

In a cover story for Newsweek called “12 Ways to Stop the Next Sandy,” David Cay Johnston wondered who will pay the long overdue bill on American infrastructure.

He pointed out that the U.S. spends just 2.4 percent of its economy on infrastructure, compared with 5 percent in Europe and 9 percent in China.

Johnston suggested ways to improve infrastructure so that a superstorm can’t wreak as much havoc as Sandy did. For example, replace ageing natural gas pipelines, stop telecommunications companies from shutting down the old copper wire telephone system and promote smaller electrical grids instead of the vast multi-state ones that currently exist.

He also suggested drumming up support for infrastructure projects by posting signs showing drivers how old and out-of-date their bridges are.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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