tv After Words CSPAN May 23, 2015 10:02pm-11:01pm EDT
>> welcome. >> thank you. >> i'm looking forward to getting into this wonderful book and letting her listening audience have the appreciation i have had getting through some of the pages and following the storyline. what i found interesting is you start out in the preface talking about leadership. that were you thinking about a book on leadership when you started? how did you get to that? >> it's one of my big topics and preoccupations. that was what i was going to do. i kept getting struck by
this issue of infrastructure which really not only the facts and figures about what was happening in america and a sad state of much of our infrastructure i was stuck on traffic. sad stories. they could not get to are had to take two or three buses and the subway. that plus going abroad and riding a train in shanghai where we went to another city 1st of all subway connections to the train the trainer so fast we went to another city in 20 minutes. so all those things together made me feel this is an important issue. i have been talking to you.
about the need for a knew vision for america. just at the end of the clinton administration when you are leaving office and then unfortunately the world changed in the 2,000's. a lot of defense spending and preoccupations and the financial crisis. the kind of investments we need to make heaven been done. this is so important to the future of the country and i'm part of the us competitiveness project. we really care about making sure america is strong and the american economy and quality of life are as excellent as they could possibly be that we are once again leaders in the world. i put aside what i thought was my leadership. then it was interesting that i ended up concluding it is
all about leadership. many of the details but it's all about leadership in the leadership for innovation, collaboration big vision is as important as the engineering. we have the technical skill in america and the technology we leave the world. we just aren't always applying our strength. leaders need to step up. i started out saying the sorry state of our infrastructure but there are many reasons for hope. we see many great projects. enough public agitation and discussion. we can get leaders to step up. not always suggests is the title of his book about
transportation infrastructure we have to move. >> and we have to leave again. the the subtitle of the book talks about putting america back in the leadership position. let me just say i want us to come back to this issue. you have a lot to say about that as far as going forward but let's unpack it a bit. you do something interesting you talk about transportation has more than concrete asphalt and steel. you talk about it as a family concerned, business concern. let me ask you about allison, natalie jacob.
how you dedicate the vote to them. you tell us to think about it. their perspective. >> thank you through a little children we need to think about this issue not only for business and the economy but also for the children were growing up now i have the privilege of reading books and those children including some of their favorites and some of my favorites which are really great metaphors for what we need to do. >> will get to that. >> this is a family-friendly issue. a high proportion of household budgets for an average family of four is spent on transportation. but they like -- variants --
very inspirational. in the middle of that book i was starting to see that the characters bopping around get to a place where there waiting for the trains to go bus to come. it was all about transportation. the rest of the book says you have to get out of the waiting place. it is inspirational. you can do it. we have to do it for them. the other is the little engine that could. >> that's my favorite. >> truly a metaphor for america. i can't imagine that book having been written other places the generosity of spirit. a little engine was the one
that stepped and to carry toys for kids when all the big engines were too busy, important the establishment was not listening. to me that is a signal we have to count on little engines, entrepreneurs community people to push congress and to do some of the work. that was why i started the book but it is their future that we are talking about. >> it is interesting. you mentioned the congress and the president. we can get into the policy. yesterday you were part of the kickoff of infrastructure week with the vice president. as we get to the end of the month where congress is once again extending the transportation bill this time for the 32nd time if
they have to extended again it will be 33 times. and the clarion call was will we need a long-term plan for infrastructure investment. do you think that is important as we think about moving america back into the leadership post? >> we definitely need that. the small engines will produce many innovations that will help but we do need the big engines and we do the long-term funding. one funding is subject to short-term fixes then no one can plan. you can't plan to upgrade. maybe you can patch some potholes but you cannot plan projects that reinvented. for all of us this is a
short-term issue because of the amount of time. the time in traffic, frustration the 1st responders that move on the roads. long-term funding would reduce the political uncertainty and attract more investors which would be helpful to the public sector if we had more private sector investors they were not all have to come out of public money. they won't necessarily invest if the public side they think will run out immediately. they are looking for long-term commitments. this is both us private equity looking at infrastructure sovereign wealth from other country, infrastructure investment. there is money out there that would like to invest
but it is not simply politics but the uncertainty when it is short-term fixes were not something we want to authorize year-by-year. i feel the same way about traffic control. we are not subject to congressional budget cycles. they cannot also make investments long-term even intellectual investments in new technology that is experimental because they might start something. >> sure. you mentioned the issue of cost. i thought immediately about how you started off the book where you say stuck on the way to the future. this 1st paragraph a couple of sentences are worth reading. the average american commuter wastes a total of 38 hours in traffic per year this is the average. some would be even higher.
this amounts to 5.5 billion hours of lost us productivity annually. those are staggering figures we all. cost when the system is not working effectively. >> we do. and that is just commuting to work. what about people who are trying to buy groceries are going to healthcare appointments are trying to get to school. >> sure. >> school buses get stuck in traffic also. when you when you get to high school students they often are using the public system. so this really is a huge cost. and the health care cost a lot are burning fuel unnecessarily. pollution pollution from those idling cars, there was a study in brooklyn that
said 45 percent of all pollution is caused by idling cars were driving around to find parking. so we have adjusted to some of that although people complain. there is a way in which the human mind will not realize there is something we can do about it. normalizing. the new normal. and so we verily come home late don't see the family. there are so many costs and consequences. that is an immediate problem that requires long-term investment. if we did was repair the road or the train tracks we still wouldn't be heading for the future. we are growing in population
and need to do something. >> just in that paragraph i was reading you said we lose about $121 billion in cost for fuel and lost time just congestion annually over 70 billion more people just stuck in traffic. what about the person who says but in that tape, idisk, listen to a book on tape. >> as i said we are good at making sense of something are making it seem normal. you could listen to that book on tape in your office or at home. >> exactly. >> we were not meant to live in our cars but even if we were auto companies might -- the cars -- >> henry ford.
>> he did. the cup holder was one of the biggest innovations. cars have become dining rooms. we don't want them to become living rooms. it's also the fuel the time the frustration and what about bad whether. really severe weather. and there was a time in 2014 in atlanta workers could not move. for 20 hours. that's really scary. aside from cramped space people could die. these are the dire consequences. it does not have to be that way. we don't have to accept this and there are solutions
many of them are already in place. >> it's interesting. we don't have to accept it. we have never really accepted the normal. this is a country that has always thought that tomorrow could be better than today. you mentioned the intercontinental railroad, the interstate system. it isn't like we have not dreamed big and produced big in the past. what do you think at this moment now -- going back to the question of leadership but what are your thoughts? you touch on many of these in the book. >> in the history, you have to look at the transcontinental railroad. the glorious path.
it wasn't so glorious visited decades of discussion and no one did it until abraham lincoln forced to through. >> even during time of war is. >> and that was, there was, there were a lot of compromises that had to be made that did not work perfectly. the track started to be laid from the east coast and west coast and did not meet in the middle. that took extra money. there were tales of corruption. j.p. morgan and john d rockefeller made their fortunes. we can envision that project because we were envisioning growth of the us from coast-to-coast. how you use that territory you not going to connected by stagecoach. the railroad connected it
and made it possible for farmers to ship their products east. it made it possible for settlements to spring up. you know that is read every time you put into transit stop you get economic growth. so we didn't them. there wasn't all that easy. it's a a leader to forge the coalition and get the political we will. interstate highways that really big like the commonwealth. the 41000-mile highway it helped the american economy after the war it helped
settlements. the suburbs were there for could grow more green suburbs supposedly and get to work in cities. kind of abandoned. for all of our big projects. the cold war investments some of them are's furious because president eisenhower who wanted the interstate highway conservative move troops and evacuate cities. in hurricane katrina in new orleans in 2005 it was clear you can't evacuate cities by everyone piling in their car and heading to the interstate. while they were great rationales at the time i also say we're stuck in the past. we have not had big visions
or big enough visions is the 1950s maybe the early 1960s about the role that these projects of played. we have some beautiful infrastructure developments. i gorgeous bridge and boston. it's like a peace of sculpture that people admire there are fantastic bridges the golden gate bridge. >> the beautiful works of art that they are not envision for what we need to do to connect people and help them move across as bridges. we needed time for a big new vision that takes into account the 21st century. >> and you mentioned that earlier. one thought before we leave your. it is interesting that fdr
during his administration thought of this national system and you're right it took a few years of gestation and then this emphasis on defense during the eisenhower years to move it forward. the question may be is there a way for the issue of competitiveness and i need to be competitive globally might that replace what has been the driver of defense and security to some degree? >> that is certainly a rationale that resonates with the business community. we could sell it a little bit to the american public but i am not sure by itself is enough.
people know china has invested a great deal. but it is a little remote to say we want to be number one my thought what i want to say to the people who are elected leaders, many of us can be leaders. i'm trying to be a thought leader. we need a vision about mobility. mobility is so essential. you talk about transportation is a circulatory system. we have to be able to move goods move ourselves to get where we want to go. other countries are moving faster.
we can use it metaphorically we also have to continue to be the land of opportunity. we have gone from the land of opportunity to being the state of delay. we have to get that back. this is all about building a middle-class command reducing inequality. one of the things that keeps people poorer is they can't get to jobs. we have to make things affordable and accessible. if we wrap mobility and competitiveness together we have a shot. we should all be starting the conversation and figuring out a way to talk about it. they were never actually called the national defense highway act that everyone the frigid in that way.
the space race by itself was inspiring to people. >> all of those. >> and this picture of people landing on the moon. >> it's powerful. >> if we don't arouse people's imagination about the future -- and this is such an exciting area. we have entrepreneurs dreaming of all kinds of things. it is inspiring. >> it is. you mentioned china and japan. as you know china is promoting its one built one road initiative where they are trying to bring
up-to-date the up to date the old silk road all about trade in participating in the global economy. as you know, you know about this as well. i was recently in japan. i wrote the bullet train. they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the bullet train. now they are looking at advanced technology clearly beyond that and there are discussions between the us and japan on this for matlab but that is the future. >> and that since it is not because we necessarily want to beat them. but this i have been in japan and written those trains. a flight in tokyo. i had a colleague was going to escort me to osaka.
i was not sure exactly how to get there. he met me as i exited security. we walked a few steps were on the train to osaka faster than you could get from any city in the united states to downtown we are in the city -- how far is osaka? it may be a hundred miles away but we are there. easily and seamlessly. it is impressive. the bullet train has only on average in the last three years deviated from schedule 32 seconds on average. try telling that to anyone who is taking amtrak and the northeast corridor. >> i know. and the pres. of amtrak amtrak knows this and is trying to get it going again. i know your good friend
former governor michael dukakis is interested along with the vice president of amtrak. >> i no they are trying. i tell a great story in the book about amtrak being innovative and getting the government regulators to be a little more flexible and nimble and raising the speed in pennsylvania by if only am your 20 miles per hour enough to make a lot of people abandon their cars to take the train to commute instead. it was just enough time saved. we could start by doing those things. and people have faith in trains again then maybe they will see the power. as you know besides this idea is of the corridor which would take many
decades there are private companies who are investing in high-speed rail in texas, texas, texas central between houston and dallas, florida, all aboard america. what is exciting about that private companies with the vision that would benefit from federal loans for matching funds but they are willing to invest. and miami where there is a desperate need for light rail there is now talk that if all aboard america is building a terminal on the northern side of the city that could be a place where we could connect light rail. the private company would jumpstart what would then become a public investment. that is exciting. >> it is. >> this idea we all have --
office but part of that was introducing high-speed rail. the good thing is we've seen a increase in the northeast corridor but we need to see that across the system and envisioned a envision the high-speed rail corridors around the country. vice president gore were very interested in that. one reason that we came forth we called it the changing face of transportation and we looked from the year 2000 to 2025 and we've been successful passing the legislation that was before us. but the recognition was that with the growing economy and interface with markets around the globe, with peace and prosperity to be enjoyed we needed to think boldly about the
future and attempt that in this work. i am excited about secretary fox and his report. you make some reference to that and also in your book because you -- this is great. you don't say the president has to be accepted. you bring everyone into focus about what can be so let's talk about that. you talked about the cities, but you also have a very significant revelation in the book about cities that are prospering and the presence of transit. why don't you tell us a little bit about that? >> that has been a great thing but the problem is it is limited
by aging infrastructure and purchased 100 years or so ago and it can't go can go up to speed. it has to slow down and there are aging tracks that have to be repaired so i would say i want the vision of the future and we have to get to that but i also believe in repair, renew and reinvent. so we also have to understand that it is needed even the benefits that we have now. this is known to people in various regions around the u.s.. it is hard to understand how we could get so bogged down in
partisan gridlock. for example denver, the city in which fewer than the statistics i have in the book but something like 6% of commuters use anything other than a car it's very car centric and yes they are putting in light rail companies refurbished union station in washington or chicago is in the way. but it hasn't happened yet. when you do that it also becomes the terminal for other things. the neighborhood around it is better. it's easier to get everything because there's better access to it. so denver hasn't done that and has had plans. i think you can get cooperation and consensus a lot better at
the regional level. people see the benefits of the project, and it isn't as though they only want it if it is for their neighborhood and they don't want it in their neighborhood if it's going to be disruptive. yes there is that streak in people and with visionary leaders and lots of different parts of the community at the table you can get support so people think sometimes it's not officials or the business community. they are against, they don't like taxes, whatever it is. but this was really striking to me. in houston there was a vote to several decades ago in favor of a light rail system of the transit system and then a second vote in general.
they had been left out and they didn't feel that was necessarily going to be good for them because all the parking places were in suburban areas. so it was not part of the comprehensive vision about what to do about houston and it took 20 years so when i see it's all about leadership you could call that politics but what the leaders have to do is understand how many stakeholders they must bring to the table. when they do that, they will get real support. they pushed the former mayor daley to think about doing something with the o'hare
airport. so if we can get that support regionally that doesn't mean the state to pay for it themselves because all of these things stand the state. the national funding which doesn't pay for it all but it just starts to. i know a big part of your vision was intermodal connections. we should be connecting.
there are a lot of unnecessary deaths in america. aside from i don't want to talk about only depressing things there is also fatalities that are unnecessary but that is in part because the roads because they are old some in chicago this has been a particular problem because a quarter of the traffic in america and chicago and it's an older system and also dates back to the time when they had a bunch of separate railroad on the tracks wherever they wanted, and so they are all crossing at multiple angles and
then they are using the same tracks. they have priority. then light rail commuter passenger. but it could tie up for 20 minutes. so it is dire. >> host: this is what you're talking about. you have a segment called the slowest 6 miles in america. this is in chicago right? >> a freight train could get from la to chicago. it could take 24 hours just to pull off the short direction in chicago. when there's a problem this wasn't even the recent bad
weather. >> host: that is what we don't recognize or appreciate. >> guest: and right now it's the same thing. you can't get the goods that have been ordered from other places were getting ours out. the mayor is changing it but he inherited that profit because in the late '90s they noticed and so chicago started. in this field there are so many acronyms. so finally it started that federal funding for the first phase. 72 different projects to build overpasses underpasses and to
straighten this out. a number of them have been completed but there is a lot left to go. i was there watching a particularly tough one and they've done a lot of innovative things. it was near a plant in chicago they would have lost all their jobs if they hadn't done that because they go out by rail or by truck some of them. now because of the untangling the used in the bridges i know that sounds -- it's not. and we did this in massachusetts. we had instant bridges for 14 weekends over 14 weekends, 14 different bridges were rolled into place in a weekend.
now they won't be hugely long bridges that they had about and i saw this. it would be a green space to develop the neighborhood year by purchasing from top of it but it's nearby it's going to be a more vibrant neighborhood. there are all kinds of suppliers, so a lot of jobs. and it's an impressive project and it's underway. the problem on that front has taken time and it's going to run out of money. because there's still a lot of projects left to go, that's one. it's very promising. i believe that we ought to get rid of every place in america with train tracks across the street or roads can any place. that will take a long time. >> host: it well and i know that was a big issue in the
federal highway administration and also the federal railroad railroad administration during my years at the department. >> guest: that's the kind of thing. look at the bridges and innovation. that's the kind of thing that if we had the will we could make that a goal. anyway that's one i will go ahead -- >> host: i've wanted you to go into some of the other things than things that mayor is doing. innovative financing and the infrastructure fund. >> guest: it's on the list for the nyc and mayors and sometimes when they are making speeches they see infrastructure and then everybody starts nodding off in the audience, so they go on to something else but it really quite exciting. so even before the financing finger is a part of this because this issue of longer-term funds that are detached from the political decision, so he
created the century and infrastructure bank for the city of chicago. there's been much talk of the national infrastructure bank that hasn't gone anywhere in congress. other countries have infrastructure banks. big time this. china has it and also other countries. brazil can also set aside it is certainly subject to oversight and you can get the professional and the community looking at the projects without thinking about the political pork barrel stuff or whatever and you can have a longer-term vision and you can do a lot of things. you could have flown south part of it. it doesn't all just have to be giving the money. so he did that. the states have infrastructure banks that they are not only using them. so that was very visionary. he was bringing in the national
perspective to the mayor of chicago. so it is happening in the one number one you could call that incremental but it's going to make a big difference. this is really rabid for anybody listening. they might say it is a few here and there but it really adds up. but what it is is a centrally dedicated language platforms. it doesn't count as a dedicated length. the platform does is it means first of all people can wait on the platform and board at the level of the bus. there's a lot of great things it does and if it can go a little faster here and there, it can have implications across the whole line. this isn't a u.s. innovation although many cities have it.
this is one where we learned it from others. i think the first one was in brazil. >> host: i've actually been to that one and during my tenure. >> guest: a long time ago. because the mayor that got that in place we had him speak at harvard. he made the green city well before it was fashionable. but now they have -- i was in istanbul watching the busses speed by as i'm stuck in traffic in a car. so it is good and we can be visionary and do great things with it but that's something chicago -- here's the other thing because they are trying to think comprehensively they call it complete a street which is a phrase used by some other places complete streets mean they are trying to not only have the busses go faster, but open the streets for bikes,
pedestrians can have them all coexist with cars and modernize the whole thing. so in the inept some downtown streets to put in the platform they are also fixing the water pipes, and since chicago has some really aging water pipes country heard about some that were hollowed out tree trunks more than 100-years-old, and because i know because they are technology in chicago using some of the old pipes now that are not being used and was using them for fiber optics. so by having the complete edition you can do everything. and so one of the other cool things come chicago wasn't the first, but bike sharing. it has its political moments but bike sharing is really being
used. i feel in some places you take your life in your hands to write and people who are wearing all black, how can they do that, what are you thinking, you can't see them. but i will tell you that there's a serious point though because -- we have to work on it because what we have in america is a car culture. the millennial struggle of their cars so much. it used to be every time you would get together in the guys would always talk about their cars and now they always talk about the smartphone and technology. they are not getting drivers licenses at the same rate. that's the modification that go on. i just wanted to say that we've
been car centric and now we have to be complete streets. we have to have the cars moved over and so we don't yet have the bike culture. we know how to be polite sort of, although we do have road rage, but we don't have a culture of bikes. so what's chicago had to do they put in traffic lights with a bike symbol so that they but know to stop. cars have to know enough to feel that you are wanting to cut off a bike. it takes time to develop that culture. and when amsterdam would lead the world in bikes and bike sharing and first put in bike sharing it was a disaster at first because people stole the bikes. they didn't bring them back but it took a little while for people to learn. so i feel right now we are on the cusp of change in how we
think about transportation infrastructure and the technology to do it. >> host: that's the exciting part and i would like to focus on that as we move to the closing here but as soon as you touched on it i went into chapter two in the book where it talks about smart roads meet the smartphone. you were all over that in your comments. but let's talk about it a little bit more. you start off this chapter saying that transportation by road must get smarter. developments in the past decade smart phones sophisticated sensors gps cloud computing committed data analytics are challenging old business models and causing industries to collide. that is you if that is you putting on your leadership has and also your harvard business hat. let's talk about that. you mentioned, needles and let's
face it they are definitely changing the way we see things and do things and the way we are going to have to live going forward. so much talk about it a little bit more. that's very exciting. >> guest: even before the smart phone, we were already beginning to use sensors for traffic management and a lot of stuff, but it was and really visible to the consumer yet. but what the smartphone which isn't that old. the apple iphone in 2007, and also full disclosure we both loved verizon. verizon love verizon. verizon wireless networks combining verizon as a company and the like your list business has been growing dramatically. but as mary of general motors pointed out, she said the cell phone was originally referred to in america as the car found. and i remember having a very
clunky car found. she was right. she said the auto industry must have that might not really jumping on it. they jumped on it a bit with a wireless connected emergency. and now i think they are because everybody is now in the transportation business. we are transporting data more than people. google is in the auto business. will they actually built a car cracks apple doesn't actually make the iphone. they make the software. but they are providing nearly every industry and they are also trying to get collaboration because it's all in the data and the soviet date and the soviet don't know. and the cars -- they are getting smarter because we are putting in sensors providing things like
electronic tolling for chevy and changed the price depending on the congestion so people make a decision will i pay a little more to go at this hour or not and that is hard to talk about. this former deputy mayor of new york, mayor in indianapolis. he said we can talk about congestion pricing because it puts together two words that americans don't like here congestion and pricing. but the fact is we do that and it's very handy. we have transponders in cars. we still don't have a national system, so the transponder started cooperating so i can use my what used to be called the backline of new york city. so we need a national system there. this is all happening faster than we can catch up with about
the roads are going to be able to sense the potholes so there is a map that the city of boston created. the city is working with technical entrepreneurs to develop these things. in your car you are connected to your smart phone if it did fix potholes from could fix potholes from the vibration on the car you don't even have to report it. the car reports it for you. that is a smart car and i hope they don't get smarter than we are. but that's the future vision. then we have all these new services. you had to deal with local permissions but they are working it out. and they've got all this technology enabled because that's how you get to the car remotely.
it will be where you get the information to meet the band that's going to take a whole bunch of people on a common root and no more than a five minute walk it will tell you when to be there and how far to walk. this will revolutionize how we get around in aviation technology will help arrive at landings. >> host: just a couple of things on that. i have often said that possibly the most important thing to happen may not have been the passage of the legislation. they were significant and big but it was through an executive order that president clinton
allowed for the commercial and civilian use that enhanced the capability to say i can have it to you at certain time because i know how to get to i know how much time it's going to take and i can read the maps that are being developed. all of that is now coming into play and it was that executive order that took basically what was the military defense type of apparatus technology and applied it to the business community. >> guest: that is so right that that made a difference.
they understood there needs to be some regulation but you left it open. it's striking to me to see today that there are these little experiments that they say we will track your delivery for you and i'm thinking wait a minute i track my shipments all the time. we can do it. we've been doing it. and consumers haven't seen the possibilities but now they are going to and there is no reason why we can't. the technologies do sneak and so it is a little worrisome if we are not in the same way. therefore we have to spend directly. i know how they developed the micro wave of and for example. >> host: but you are also in the research institution and of these universities, harvard and
others, they've given us the benefit of that intellectual muscle that predates to give us greater enjoyment and greater fulfillment and greater transparency. so we have to continue to invest in the research and development. that's my -- i'm finding this conversation fascinating. i was recently reading i needed was a wall street journal article that it had a map of the state of california and it had all of the locations that we mentioned, you mentioned google and others. then at the location of the automated facilities and they were all along that same