With all the talk lately about America’s crumbling, increasingly shoddy infrastructure, now seems like an appropriate time to discuss practical solutions.

I don’t have any of those, so let’s just go big.

I’d like to propose an audacious plan that will not only improve our infrastructure, but also bring in boatloads of cash. How, you ask? With good, old-fashioned American grit, plenty of imagination—and a dogged, nationwide commitment toward building kitschy, possibly dangerous, tourist attractions.

Look, right now we’re at a D+ infrastructure grade, and some folks are saying it’ll take 40 years to fix it all. We’re all reliant upon and surrounded by latent death traps in the meantime. We’ve got to speed this process up.

There are many ways we could raise the money needed to smooth over our 6,586,610 kilometers of roadways and shore up our country’s 607,380 bridges. But if we really want to maximize our return on investment, we should think beyond tolls, taxes and the Highway Trust Fund.

If I were overseeing this initiative, I’d start with building more “natural” wonders. People seem to love lakes, mountains and caverns, right? Who wouldn’t like more grottoes or fjords sprinkled throughout this great land? Of course, people would have to pay to enjoy these ecological moneymakers.

We have the technology to make even the dullest of landscapes whimsical, fanciful and worthy of tourism. Why not build a huge mountain in Miami and charge a hefty admission? Why not turn entire towns into themed villages?

I’ve never felt compelled to visit, say, Bemidji, Minnesota. But if Bemidji were to be transformed into a Frozen-themed replica village, I guarantee that town would be flush with enough tourist cash to build a new Bemidji International Airport within five years.

This is the sort of forward thinking that could really fund our infrastructure repairs—and get our economy roaring at the same time.

Who needs another boring interstate when we are perfectly capable of building a colossal flume log ride from Fargo all the way down to Houston? Right now, no one’s clamoring to drive through Kansas, but you better believe people would pay top dollar to zipline through Kansas. Now that’s some innovative financing.

There is a precedent for things of this nature. Many of our biggest lakes are man-made. Paris has a faux beach. Dubai built an artificial archipelago shaped like a palm tree. China has built entire cities modeled after other towns (though they kinda blew it with Thames Town).

We have at our fingertips the kind of visionary engineering that produced the Flask Tie, and Golden Corral’s “Chocolate Wonderfall.” The only thing that’s holding us back is an unwillingness to try new ways to solve old problems.

Many U.S. cities have built roadside attractions to drum up visitors, but we haven’t really committed to this idea as a country. With our remarkable ability to super-size things, live above our means, and just generally push things to the max, building new ecological marvels and geological formations is something we could really excel at—and make tons of dough from.

But we need a leader with the boldness to cast the vision. We need a self-assured nonconformist with the foresight and the bravado to pound the podium and say, “Let’s give our unemployed children a dream, and a bunch of shovels, and let’s see what they can do!”

It seems doubtful that any of our current political chuds will have the courage to champion such a grand, exotic scheme. We have a dearth of leaders who are not beholden to a party or powerful special interest groups.

In all seriousness, let's immediately address the deadliest infrastructure issues that threaten our citizens. We all deserve access to clean water, safe roads and airports that smell better than LaGuardia.

After taking care of the basics, it’s time to start spicing up our infrastructure—U.S.A.-style. Our coffers will be overflowing in no time.

If it fails, at least it’d be fun in the meantime.

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