Report on US Infrastructure. The right plan, the best materials, and a $3.6 trillion investment by 2020
On the brink of failure: what will it take to re-build the United States?
VANCOUVER, June 11, 2014 /CNW/ - When a student comes home during term review and exposes a GPA falling in the D range, panic often ensues— something has gone wrong, something needs to be corrected. Their grade, like all grades, serves as a signal that drastic action must be taken to re-build their academic standing.
Every four years the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases its own version of a report card, and in 2013 the nation's infrastructure earned a D+ (poor) GPA. A disconcerting grade, considering the eminent and progressive civil construction schemas that America was once home to.
Beginning in the 1980s serious concern arose as to the dilapidated state of America's roadways, tunnels, bridges, dams, waterways, and energy systems, but economic and political conditions have continuously inhibited would-be plans and progress.
Financing gargantuan, inter-jurisdictional projects, such as wide-scale infrastructure re-development is a challenging prospect, especially when the estimated cost of upgrades, according to the ASCE, will require a $3.6 trillion investment within the next six years.
Often, desperation and necessity are the harbinger of innovation. As vital transport and communication networks continue to crack and crumble, innovative financing schemes are being generated, and when mass-scale infrastructure projects become solvent entire markets will re-arrange, as they help allocate the industrial construction materials that will assist in re-defining a nation.
As the logistical climate improves, with relation to large infrastructure projects, it will take sound leadership, financial innovation, and public demand to raise the capital necessary to re-build that which is faltering.
Various financing options, such as tolling, public-private partnerships, a National Infrastructure Bank and programs that encourage private investment, such as TIFIA, its new counterpart WIFIA, and the revival of the Build America Bonds program, are only bolstered by public support and the will of governmental leaders to address the issue of failing infrastructure.
Recently, John K. Delaney, of Maryland's 6th Congressional District co-wrote an article entitled, Crumbling U.S. Infrastructure Needs Money. Delaney has proposed a bill to congress entitled, The Partnership to Build America Act, which is designed to aid in the rebuilding of, "our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way,"… and "is a private sector driven solution to our public infrastructure needs." Currently, the bill has strong bipartisan support in Congress with 32 Democratic and 32 Republican cosponsors in the House, and seven Republican and six Democratic cosponsors in the Senate.
Concrete's second coming, developing a HSC (high-strength cement using Metakaolin)
Since the adoption of modern environmental standards, the production of concrete has been blighted due to the high amount of emissions it generates. Fortunately, alternatives do exist, ones that not only mitigate the environmental consequences of concrete, but also make it a more durable, stronger, and longer-lasting construction implement.
This is done through the addition of pozzolanic materials to concrete mixtures. Most recently the 8-20% addition of metakaolin to Portland Cement, an essential ingredient in concrete, has increased kaolin's domestic and international demand. Metakaolin as an additive produces a highly attractive compound that demonstrates increased strength and durability, reduced permeability, all the while decreasing the weight and acid resistance of finished products. In addition, when added to primary ingredients, metakaolin increases the durability and length of use for surfaces that are subject to extreme wear and tear.
i-Minerals Inc. (TSX.V: IMA; OTCQX: IMAHF) Helmer-Bovill property, located in North Central Idaho, hosts a variety of coveted industrial minerals, and has entered advanced stages of exploration as shown in I-Minerals Updated Pre-Feasibility Study. Garnering increased excitement within the market for industrial minerals is the presence of kaolin, and its by-product metakaolin at the Helmer-Bovill property. A myriad of applications exist for metakaolin, but as of late this versatile clay composite is demonstrating value through its use as a pozzolan within the manufacture of concrete.
As a result of its attractive and functional qualities, metakaolin is currently sought throughout markets in Western North America, and the demand for this additive is expected to increase dramatically, as the aforementioned infrastructure needs are addressed.
The various qualities of metakaolin, when used as a pozzolan and in other applications, prime it to be viewed as the epitome of twenty-first century building materials, for it is being derived from a local source, thus demonstrating sustainable and economical qualities; it is an environmental alternative for an industry and economy attempting to become more green; and it boasts a myriad of properties that make it superior to conventional pozzolans.
The market is ready, and the financial and political atmosphere is preparing itself for re-construction on a mass-scale, and with the right materials this upcoming era could be the one that redefines both America, and the way nations choose to re-build themselves.
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