World's 20 Best Places To Live

Infrastructure improvement, particularly in high-speed rail, has also been a priority of the Obama administration, which allocated $8 billion of the $787 billion stimulus package to the cause of six possible high-speed corridors around the nation.

But the U.S. is a bit behind the curve. Germany, for example, has had high-speed rail since 1991. In Japan, the Shinkansen, the country's high-speed network, has been operational since 1964.

While the Obama administration has focused its support for such networks through the creation of jobs and easing of congestion, the long-term competitive advantage that cities gain as the result of such linkages has the potential to be its longest-term benefit. Of course, that's assuming the projects are completed and the U.S. doesn't bankrupt itself with deficit spending.

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