for the control and monitoring of other infrastructure components.
Opinions among economists vary about the role of public spending for infrastructure as a means of creating jobs and equalizing opportunity. However, economists generally agree that (1) infrastructure and its quality affect behavior with respect to location—that is, where people, activities, and businesses are located or willing to locate—which in turn affects economic growth, land use, and quality of life; and (2) it is difficult to achieve high rates of productivity in the absence of quality infrastructure (Gramlich, 1994). Thus, the efficiency, reliability, and resiliency of critical infrastructure systems affect many aspects of society, including the following:
The costs of food, durable goods, and consumer goods;
The competitiveness of U.S. services and goods in the global market;
The health, safety, and well-being of citizens;
The quality of life in communities;
The availability and reliability of power and the maintenance of life-support systems;
The travel time required for people to go from home to work or other destinations and for the efficient transport of goods and services;
The reliability and speed of telecommunications;
The speed and effectiveness of communications about actions to be taken during natural and human-made disasters (e.g., regarding evacuation and safe harbors);
The time, cost, and extent of recovery for communities following such disasters.
Critical infrastructure systems also affect the quality of the environment and the availability of natural resources for other uses. Electric power and transportation account for 40 percent and 29 percent, respectively, of the nation’s total annual energy use; together they account for more than 50 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to global climate change (EIA, 2008b).
Critical infrastructure systems are built to provide services to several generations over several decades. These systems have become so integrated into modern life that they are taken for