According to the United States Geological Survey’s NORM-ED database, the remotest place in the continental United States, the lower 48 states, is in the wilderness of Grand Tetons National Part. The blue dot shows you where it is. You can click on the image for a larger version. By my eyeball-o-meter it’s about 30 miles south of one federal highway and about 30 miles north of another federal highway. There’s an Interstate about 200 miles to the west. That’s the remotest place. To get there you’d take one of the highways, drive a few miles on what are probably gravel roads, and then backpack in. Basically a day trip, made more difficult by the altitude.
By comparison Motuo in China (Tibet) is a whole county completely inaccessible by road. They built a road back in 1993 but it fell into disrepair and is unusable. Any necessary food or medicine is carried in on foot.
Why is the United States infrastructure always being compared with that of China, Russia, or Brazil? Below is a map, prepared by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre as a graphic illustration of interconnectedness.
The lighter the color, the more interconnected. The darker the color, the less connected. As you can see, the eastern part of the United States compares favorably with Europe while the less-interconnected western part is still considerably lighter than vast areas of Russia, China, or Brazil that are contiguous with the main population centers of the country. Comparisons between the highly-developed United States and the BRIC countries is facetious. We don’t spend as much on infrastructure (definition: roads and bridges) as a proportion of GDP as they do because we don’t need to any more.
There are 221 bridges across the Mississippi, roughly one every 10 miles, from Minneapolis where you can jump over the river to its outlet in the Gulf where you can’t even see across it. Bulding one additional bridge won’t add to our productivity or competitiveness in the slightest. I would argue that it would actually decrease our productivity because a superfluous bridge would require maintenance and in the real world where resources are in competition with one another that means those resources wouldn’t be available for another, more efficient use.