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Mega-Minded: Creating the World’s Biggest Metro

with Carey Anne Nadeau

NEW YORK--Federal, state, and local governments along the upper Eastern seaboard yesterday announced a $300 billion, five-year plan to fully integrate 12 metropolitan areas stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C., with upgraded transportation, energy, water, and telecommunications networks. The new Northeast Corridor (or “NoCo,” superseding “Bos-Wash”) region (see map) will house upwards of 44 million people and generate about 19 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. 

A joint statement of the more than 10,000 elected officials representing these regions read in part, “The NoCo project will dramatically improve the functioning of these closely related labor markets, speed the flow of goods and services, lower unemployment, and make the region first-in-class in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

Oh, wait. I messed up. That happened last week in China (see below).


Yes, the United States is in a different stage of development, where the return on new infrastructure is not as high as in China.  Yes, we have a fundamentally different system that values private property and local control.  Yes, things other than size matter greatly in the race for global investment.  And yes, it’s not totally clear if the Chinese plan is ready for prime time

But when it takes nearly seven hours to traverse the NoCo via “high speed” rail, you have to appreciate the sheer audacity of, “Turn the Pearl River Delta into One.”