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Keston Institute: Message from Michael Keston
Michael KestonIn the mid-20th Century, California was the leader in the world in creating a vibrant and effective system of public infrastructure which accommodated the explosive post-World War II population growth. The University of California, the State University system and the Community Colleges; state freeways and highways, the spectacular State Water Project which provided delivery and storage of an adequate water supply for cities and farms, and the extensive statewide power grid--most of it was initiated, planned and built in that period of time. It is now 40 years later, our population is 35 million going towards 50 million and there is no vision or plan to rehabilitate or expand the existing infrastructure systems. Our Institute seeks to be a major participant in developing a vision and implementation plan for the critical infrastructure systems of the 21st Century.

We know that it is not easy to excite the public and policy makers about infrastructure systems. This is a topic that may not be glamorous or glittery but includes the important functions of clean water delivery, waste disposal, power, transportation and goods movement, open space and clean air. Infrastructure systems affect the quality of life for every Californian and the cost of doing business for every participant in the world's fifth largest economy.

We can't afford to ignore our deteriorating highways, bridges, reservoirs and sewers. Failure to take action has real consequences in our daily lives: longer commutes, power blackouts, unhealthy water and air. The USC Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy will bring the considerable academic resources of a major university to the discussion and develop programs and research to engage the public and inform policy makers of the alternatives, the costs, and the technology to rebuild our crumbling systems. We must all work together to create a vision and a plan to provide the adequate and safe resources for the outstanding lifestyle and robust economy that California has exemplified since the discovery of gold in the American River.

Michael Keston
Chairman of the Board, The Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy