Why Is China Known As The "Infrastructure Maniac"? It Even Gives American Engineers Goosebumps
Hey guys! Do you know China's Engineering Construction Technology has become a global benchmark leaving engineers and professionals around the world including those in the United States in awe of its remarkable achievements The sheer scale, speed, and ingenuity demonstrated by China's construction techniques have shocked American engineers who have witnessed the country's rapid urbanization and ambitious infrastructure projects. In this video we delve into the factors behind China's construction prowess. But before we dive in we kindly ask for your support by liking this video and subscribing to Machine Eye.
We value your thoughts and invite you to share your opinions in the comments below. Without further ado let's embark on an extraordinary journey. What comes to mind when you think of American cities? Bustling streets well-maintained roads? The reality might disappoint you. In fact, most American streets are far from tidy. Trash is abundant and the roads themselves are in a sorry state. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan once openly criticized the condition of New York's roads describing the experience of driving on them as excessively bumpy.
Chinese were developing first world infrastructure and you just have to go to China to see the way their infrastructure is and I'm in New York and and I'm watching the you know the car bumping around here you know you actually wasted you do not sound right now like a prime minister from Pakistan. Contrasting this with major Chinese cities reveals a stark difference. Why hasn't the United States improved its infrastructure? Before discussing this question let's examine the current state of American infrastructure. From a statistical perspective the United States has a commendable level of infrastructure.
In terms of highways it boasts a total length of 6.85 million kilometers over a million kilometers more than China perfectly befitting its status as a global superpower. However, a significant portion of these highways were constructed a century ago while many others were built between the 1950s and 1980s. Very few new roads have been built. It's not difficult to imagine the poor condition of American highways with potholes being a common occurrence.
Even major cities like New York cannot escape the fate of a bumpy ride let alone more remote areas that will make you question your life choices. Moving on to the subway system how terrible is the subway in the United States? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once visited a New York subway station and struggled to enter the turnstile swiping her card five times in front of a crowd. Besides outdated turnstiles, the trains and tracks are equally outdated. Every time a train arrives at a station it produces a thunderous noise...
Listen! The thunderous roar emitted by the US subway when it arrives at the station is like an airplane taking off and the noise it produces is highly discomforting. Now let's take a look at China's subway system and I believe that with this comparison you'll see just how outdated the subway system in the United States really is. The subway runs very stable, there is almost no noise... So, with a subway system as outdated as the one in the United States do you still expect it to excel in other aspects? It's slow, often delayed and gives people the constant feeling that the train could break down at any moment. Moreover, the subway systems lack various user-friendly designs. Firstly, many subway stations don't have elevators making it difficult for passengers carrying large luggage, or with disabilities to use the subway.
Secondly, there are no safety barriers between platforms and tracks increasing the risk for passengers. In New York alone there are over a hundred safety incidents each year due to these issues. In addition, the New York subway also offers a unique sightseeing experience: trash and rats. You can see these two things almost everywhere in the station on the tracks, and even inside the train cars.
If you don't believe me, watch this short video. As the saying goes, "No pain, no gain." Let's take a look at China's subway system. The waiting halls are spacious and brightly lit with smooth and clean floors that reflect people's images clearly.
Even a casual photo captures a sense of modernity. However, the New York subway, with its dim lighting deteriorated walls with peeling paint, and the accumulated dirt seen everywhere on the floors and ceilings makes it hard to imagine that beneath the glamorous New York City lies such a "historically rich" side. It's safe to say that New York City has one of the worst subway systems in the world. The poor state of the subway system extends to trains and airports as well. Remember the recent train derailment in Ohio? Well, the US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, wasn't surprised at all. Why? Because there are around 1,000 train derailments in the United States every year but the one in Ohio received the most attention.
The situation is similar for airports and train stations which are plagued by issues of dirt, outdated facilities, and aging infrastructure. However, these issues aren't the most severe problems in the United States. More severe issues are found in bridges, power grids and dams In early 2021 Texas experienced widespread water and power outages due to extreme cold weather.
In June of the same year an apartment collapse in Miami claimed the lives of 94 people. In 2020, two dams in Michigan burst. Tragedies caused by aging infrastructure are countless in the United States. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that over 200,000 bridges in the United States were over 50 years old with an additional 56,000 bridges having structural deficiencies. It is perplexing why the United States, knowing the extent of its outdated and deteriorating infrastructure has not taken swift action to improve it. Actually, it's not that the United States doesn't want to improve it's just that they lack the means to do so.
This might come as a shock to many. How could the mighty world superpower that spends so much money creating havoc around the globe not have enough funds for infrastructure? But unfortunately that's the case for the United States. From Obama to Trump, and now Biden all of them have made efforts to address infrastructure issues. For instance, when Obama took office in 2009 he vowed to have 80% of Americans riding high-speed trains within 25 years.
Yet, what has been achieved to date? Fourteen years have passed with two presidential terms and high-speed rail is still a distant dream within the United States. The only project that was initiated, the California High-Speed Rail, turned into a massive failure. It was approved in 2008, construction began in 2015 and in 2019, they announced a significant reduction in the project cutting the original 826.8-kilometer route down to a mere 190 kilometers. With a travel time of only two hours is there really a need for a high-speed rail? Apparently, even the California government had doubts resulting in delays and ultimately a complete failure to complete the project. As for the existing high-speed rail, the Acela Express it has an average speed of 110 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of 240 kilometers per hour.
It can be considered a long-distance train rather than a high-speed rail system. In stark contrast, China's C500 high-speed trains can reach a maximum speed of 505 km/ h demonstrating a vast difference. The Acela Express has been in operation since 1993 and after 30 years it's no wonder it's been left behind by the times.
Even Trump couldn't ignore the dire state of infrastructure in the United States. He planned to spend $1.5 trillion to rebuild the country's infrastructure including roads, dams, bridges, power grids, and more. Unfortunately, the proposal failed and the first step of the infrastructure plan was abandoned. And what about Biden? As soon as he took office, he introduced the "Reconstruction for a Better Future Act" which not only incorporated the infrastructure plan from the Trump era but also included the field of renewable energy with a budget of $2 trillion. In fact, it's the largest American jobs investment since World War Two.
It'll create millions of jobs good paying jobs or grow the economy make us more competitive around the world promote our national security interest and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years. It is big. Yes It's bold. Yes. And we can get it done. However, like his predecessors, Biden faced a significant challenge—there was no money. Despite the wealth of the United States where did all the money go? Military spending scientific research projects provoking other countries—the list goes on.
As for infrastructure and welfare these initiatives are continuously delayed because they are not considered priority projects in the United States. So Biden came up with a solution—increasing corporate taxes. This didn't sit well with Trump.
our own leaders how stupid are these politicians to allow this to happen how stupid! Trump After working tirelessly for four years to reduce corporate taxes from 35% to 21% he couldn't believe that as soon as he stepped down, Biden planned to raise them to 28%. It felt like a robbery. Moreover, Biden's infrastructure plan was touted as a means to compete with China but with increased corporate taxes it's unlikely that anything substantial will be accomplished. Consequently, Biden's bill initially upset entrepreneurs and some even suggested that whoever uses roads, and power grids should foot the bill. The Republican Party, to which Trump belongs was largely opposed to the bill.
On one hand, its implementation would escalate the US fiscal deficit, worsening the country's situation. On the other hand, it simply became a matter of party rivalry opposing any policy proposed by the opponents. Additionally, some members of Biden's Democratic Party staunchly opposed the "Reconstruction for a Better Future Act" fearing it would lead to severe inflation in the United States. While their reasons may sound valid it's clear that personal interests play a significant role in their opposition. Despite the convoluted process, the infrastructure bill was eventually passed due to popular demand.
The only downside was that the bill's budget plummeted to $1.2 trillion. Though it may sound like a substantial amount when used for infrastructure, it's merely a drop in the bucket. Just take a look at the allocation of funds in the United States when $650 billion was initially allocated for infrastructure and maintenance After deducting those costs, the remaining new funds amount to only $550 billion. Out of that, $110 billion is designated for major road and bridge projects $66 billion for railway construction $73 billion for power grid expansion and updates, and so on.
Let's not forget the railway construction project. Back in 2008, the budget for the California high-speed rail was $33 billion and it took seven years to commence construction after the project's approval. But guess what? By 2018, halfway through the project only 191 kilometers had been completed and the cost had skyrocketed to $77.3 billion. And now, a mere $66 billion is allocated for railway projects. Is that enough? We haven't even considered the severe inflation the United States has been facing in recent years along with rising labor costs.
On the other hand, China's Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail, approximately the same length as the California high-speed rail started construction in 2008 and opened for traffic in June 2011. In just three years, China accomplished what the United States failed to do in over a decade. Moreover, when the California high-speed rail was abandoned in 2019 it was reduced to a mere 191 kilometers costing a staggering $93.73 million per kilometer. In contrast, China's Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway had a total investment of 220.9 billion yuan with a construction cost of approximately 167 million yuan per kilometer. In terms of cost, the United States spent four times more than China but failed to complete the project.
The gap in infrastructure between China and the United States is vividly apparent. China's infrastructure level is not only reflected in this aspect. For example in January 2018, the Longyan Railway Station in Fujian underwent a major renovation in just one night without disrupting travel the next day.
In 2017 more than 200 excavators in Nanchang worked together to dismantle the Longwangmiao overpass A 589-meter-long structure, in just eight hours. it was an extraordinary feat. Let's not forget the Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, built in 12 days or the even faster construction of Huoshenshan Hospital in 10 days.
And who can forget the 30,000-ton passenger station that was moved 288 meters without being demolished A remarkable display of engineering prowess. Out of the ten tallest buildings in the world, China claims six. Particularly in recent years, China has made extensive efforts in infrastructure construction Spending over ten trillion yuan each year. It's both wealthy and efficient, earning China the title of an infrastructure maniac. Even Elon Musk marvels at how China's infrastructure progress is over 100 times faster than that of the United States. Can you believe that more than a hundred years ago, the United States was once the pioneer of infrastructure development? In 1840, while China was suffering from foreign aggression the United States had already built 2,818 miles of railways Making it the country with the longest railway mileage at the time.
By 1910, American railways spanned 410,000 kilometers Accounting for half of the world's total. And what about China's railway mileage today? It stands at a mere 155,000 kilometers Highlighting the disparity in infrastructure between the two countries. The Empire State Building completed in 1931 took 410 days to construct and stood as the world's tallest building for 41 years. It was considered one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world.
The Hoover Dam and Golden Gate Bridge both iconic American engineering marvels were also built before World War II. In addition, roads, power grids, and subways All were completed in the 1960s and 1970s decades ahead of China. However, with such a remarkable history of infrastructure development, why has the United States fallen behind? Let's not forget how the American railroads were built. In 1849, a large number of Chinese laborers went to the United States to construct the Pacific Railway.
The working conditions for the Chinese laborers were horrendous. Wage deductions were the least of their worries the worst part was that they were treated as less than human. Regardless of freezing temperatures or scorching heat of 50 degrees white overseers would drive them to work. Refuse to work? Well, they'd whip and starve you until you complied.
Just during the construction of the Pacific Railway thousands of Chinese laborers lost their lives. The Chinese workers faced immense hardships but the Native Americans suffered even more. They built railways, dug canals, and constructed cities wherever roads were needed nearly driving the indigenous population to extinction. It's clear to see now, isn't it? The title of "American infrastructure maniac" was not earned by white people themselves it was the result of enslaving other nations.
Now, with no one else left to enslave they can only rely on themselves. But with high wages and excellent benefits in the United States who would dare to complain? No work on scorching hot days off on rainy days and staying home during windy and snowy weather plus the eight-hour work system on various holidays how can infrastructure costs not skyrocket? After all, even if workers don't work, wages cannot be reduced. Attempt to pay less and the unions will make sure to give you trouble. The high cost of infrastructure coupled with a lack of willingness to invest compounds the problem. Back in the day, when the United States had an abundance of land they could afford to give it away to attract investors.
But what about now? 58% of the land is privately owned how can the United States foot the bill? Even to undertake infrastructure construction and use other people's land they have to pay for land acquisition. Therefore, the United States dream of competing with China in infrastructure is simply a fantasy. Even if the infrastructure bill is passed the future remains bleak. Just take the California high-speed rail project as an example clearly, it's a shining illustration of the challenges the United States faces.
So what do you think about the fact that the United States can't compete with China in terms of infrastructure? We would love to hear your thoughts and insights in the comment section below. Don't forget to like this video and subscribe to our channel to stay updated with more fascinating content. Thank you for watching and we look forward to seeing you in the next video.
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