A National Association of Counties (NACo) County News article (2018-05-08) recounted a panel discussion on “Building Inclusive Infrastructure” that was hosted by NACo on May 15 as part of Infrastructure Week 2018. The discussion highlighted the local, state, and national challenge of providing and funding core infrastructure services. From the article:
“How do you think about infrastructure every morning when you wake up?” [Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program Adie] Tomer asked. “You want to make sure there’s clean running water in the bathroom, you want to make sure when you flip the light switch that there’s power on, that the gadgets you have plugged in are fully juiced up because when they’re not it causes real problems all day, right? You also want to make sure you have gas and electricity in the kitchen so you can prepare breakfast. And you definitely want to make sure the broadband into our homes and wi-fi into our routers is running very smoothly. Here’s the real capper … we also want to make sure there’s transportation infrastructure to get us where we need to go.”
These are reasonable expectations, he noted. But there’s a gap in the United States, he said, when you think about entire rural towns where children can’t do homework because they don’t have a broadband connection, communities in Michigan that don’t have clean water or when people have to drive two hours to get to work.
Filling the gaps takes funding and community engagement — two pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed when considering infrastructure projects, said Ramsey County, Minn. Commissioner Jim McDonough, who was joined on the panel by Ellory Monks, co-founder, the Atlas Marketplace, and Brooks Rainwater, senior executive and director, Center for City Solutions, National League of Cities.
NACo Transportation & Infrastructure Web Page