Building a new economy

In response to the current economic downturn, governments worldwide have allocated funding to launch much needed infrastracture improvements and expansions. But the pressure to deliver these projects as a way to simulate the economy is often shaped by political agendas. This article examines the current state of the infrastructure projects that world governments are funding. In doing so, it overviews the level of investment that some major countries are making and identifies the critical challenge that stimulus project teams must confront, including pressure from politians looking for quick economic gains. It describes the problems facing many of these projects, noting the element that project managers must guard against: failure to effectively plan. It looks at the disadvantages and the advantages of using a design-build approach when implementing mega-projects; it summarizes the challenges that project professionals and world governments now face in realizing mega-projects supported by stimulus funding. It then discusses how private-public partnerships can help governments realize mega-projects over long spans of time and through administration changes. It also explains how the stimulus mega-projects are changing the role that project managers play. Accompanying this article are four sidebars, including one that grades the US's infrastructure and another that reports three project accounting changes resulting from stimulus funding.
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