Infrastructure calls for public’s interest beyond paying for it

Lately,  the importance of infrastructure escapes no one.
Against a backdrop of constant controversy from the White House to the Statehouse and red hot issues ranging from abortion to climate change, infrastructure still dominates the headlines.
From MUB’s raw water pipeline to statewide secondary road repairs to mobile service and runways and reservoirs it’s the rage. And that doesn’t even begin to include public health and safety infrastructure,  green infrastructure (parks), mass transit, schools and more.
It’s pretty obvious why all this is important — we all pay for it and we all use it.
For now, we’re going to pass on the paying for infrastructure part of the equation, which is often more complex than the actual infrastructure itself.
Except to say, over the years our newspaper has taken a position that utilities, local and state governments, etc. serve us best with graduated rate increases, rather than waiting 17 years to raise rates by 97%.
Our premise here is that since we all use it and it is the lifeblood of economic activity we all should take an interest in it, if not participate in the decisions about it.
Much like the participation rates at the polls,  it’s clear too many people ignore issues of infrastructure until rates, fees or taxes blow up or spending on it is to the detriment of programs they rely on.
True, infrastructure is not a sexy issue that garners interest like say an NCAA regional baseball tourney or a grisly murder trial. However, let infrastructure fail and suddenly we’re no longer living in comfort and safety.
Indeed, critical failure of infrastructure can cause devastating damages to property or worse, loss of life.
These systems, which are sometimes called “public works,” are critical to how we live and needless to say, we expect them to work for us.
Some describe infrastructure as any facility, structure or service we expect to be there but pay no mind to because it works for us — 10-feet underground or thousands of miles above Earth.
As noted above, paying for infrastructure gets complicated, but we maintain it’s an investment that generates long-term economic, social and environmental benefits. Yes, it’s expensive as everyone can attest, but its multiplier effect reaches  every household, every business and every community.
So, if you wonder why you see so many headlines in our newspaper about pipelines, roads, broadband access and airports, now you know.
No, you may never wonder what took that last tweet  to get to you so slowly.
But disrupt access to clean water or let a major bridge collapse and you’ll realize what’s important.