A key plank of Trump's economic platform is his proposal for massive infrastructure spending, which some estimates put at $1 trillion, to boost the US economy. He will pay for this by tax cuts, one of the most significant being the proposal to cut to 10% the tax on repatriated funds that big corporations currently hold offshore. There is one infrastructure project, the biggest of all, that he should consider.
When I wrote in the Mensa magazine 30-odd years ago of my imaginary future train journey to America, Harry Harrison, sci-fi author of Soylent Green, commented in a Cambridge pub, "Ah, you'll be using my tunnel." He had written a sci-fi novel called "Transatlantic Tunnel." "No," I told him, "I'll be going the other way round."
My imagined train journey would go through the Channel Tunnel, across Europe and Siberia, and then across the Bering Straits Bridge to be greeted in Alaska by a high school marching band at the train station. I later discovered I was by no means the first to suggest such a venture. William Gilpin, first governor of the Colorado territory proposed this in 1890, and Joseph Strauss in 1892 drew up engineering designs for such a bridge. Others have taken it up since.
It is by no means beyond our capabilities. The deepest water depth is about 55 metres, and the link might be achieved by a 25 mile bridge to the intervening Diomede Islands, and then either a bridge or a tunnel to Alaska. There is no doubt it could be done, and would provide a link for trade and commerce as well as passengers. Pipelines alongside could carry oil or gas supplies.
Why it should be done is partly symbolic as well as economic. The election of Donald Trump will probably mark a thaw in the West's relations with Russia. President Trump will acknowledge Russia's need for dominant influence on their "near abroad," just as he will respect China's aspiration to be a leading Pacific power. The easing of tensions will defuse potential conflict, and might be symbolized by the new physical link connecting America and Russia.
The project would generate vast numbers of jobs in both America and Russia, not only for the link itself, but also for the supporting infrastructure. More than that, though, it would be a symbol of a truly interconnected world. This is a project he might consider to be worthy of his presidency.