According to my friends on Capitol Hill and my many colleagues and clients who work for federal agencies, stimulus money will likely be spent on "shovel ready" projects, or those that are already planned and ready for a contractor to pick up a shovel and go. Many of the projects are infrastructure- and building-related, which is normally a good thing for my industry.
However, I'm concerned that in our hurry to boost the economy, we are not really paying attention to the long- term projects that will help sustain us yet may not be quite ready today. Take the smart grid for example. Or what about alternative energy investments that don't quite have the payback to compete with clean coal this year, but could in five. And if we spend all of this government money now, and in one shot, will we have the ability to make investments ten, twenty and thirty years from now on projects that may be a better bang for our buck?
It seems to me that a smoother, slower investment over time (so we can see results and course correct) is a little more sane. This sense of urgency we have to "fix" the financial markets and "fix" the economy... isn't that need for quick results what got us into trouble in the first place?
Leigh Stringer (aka Greenette)
Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, aka "Greenette," has spent her career focused on green design and workplace behavior. She works for HOK, a global architectural firm in Washington, D.C. and has been interviewed for her work by CNN, USA Today and ABC’s Good Morning America.