Panama Dice que Sí al Canal Expandido

By October 23, 2006Trade

Five percent of world maritime traffic passes through the Panama Canal, with the U.S. accounting for 68 percent of that, so it’s good news for trade — and manufacturers — that Panamanian voters have approved the canal’s major expansion.

GUATEMALA CITY Panamanians have overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to modernize the country’s aging canal, won over by government arguments that the $5.25 billion project would generate jobs and keep the canal relevant for future generations.

The overhaul, to begin next year, will double the canal’s capacity by adding a third set of locks that are 40 percent longer and 60 percent wider than the current ones.

“Panama is betting on its future,” said President Martín Torrijos, chief backer of the plan, after voting Sunday morning in a nationwide referendum.

More and more we read about countries dramatically upgrading their infrastructure, such as China’s airport-building craze.

China is building and expanding airports at an unprecedented pace, one that matches its roaring economy. The country will spend $17.4 billion over the next five years to build 42 airports in cities stretching from the Russian border in the northeast to the high Tibetan plateau in the southwest. Chinese planners have orders to expand 73 airports and to move 11.

The NAM is in the process of examining U.S. infrastructure needs, and we keep coming to the same conclusion: The United States is in serious danger of falling behind its global competitors, failing to pursue a comprehensive instrastructure strategy that embraces all critical components: roads, rails, shipping and air.

UPDATE: Good pre-vote blogging on the canal vote at Publius Pundit. Maps, links, photos.

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