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Lights, Electricity, Infrastructure!

The power was out in my neighborhood last week (my house included) and the only benefit derived from that entire experience was spending time, that I probably wouldn't have spent, with my loving family. One of my aunties, whose house had power, made me dinner; while my uncle and other auntie invited me to stay the night with them. I woke up to the smell of waffles, eggs, grits, and fried sausage links made just for me by my loving uncle. I'm a blessed man.

Anyways, having no power made me realize and appreciate even more, the existence and efficiency of infrastructure. Things such as power, lights, electricity, clean water, and all of those necessities that we only take notice of when 1) they aren't working 2) when their bills are due. Here in America, our infrastructure improves daily and we should all be grateful.

Infrastructure is the physical support system needed for the delivery of goods and services, and us people. It includes water and sewer pipes, roads, bridges, cables, telecommunications, power, water, and sewage treatment plants. Waterways, railroads, airports, bridges, power grid and smart grid systems and pretty much anything involving transportation, health and safety, energy, and communication. Capacity of infrastructure refers to the measure of what the infrastructure is capable of: How many cars can cross the bridge per hour? How many gallons of sewage can be treated per day? How fast can data flow in a fiber optic cable?

Both government and private businesses provide infrastructure. Typically public infrastructure includes water, wastewater and stormwater systems; streets, sidewalks, road improvements, schools, hospitals, and other public services (police, firemen, EMS, etc.). Private infrastructure includes natural gas, electric distribution, telephone, and telecommunications systems.These may also be provided through public/private partnerships or cooperative associations.

Ongoing capital investment, planning and improvement on infrastructure is just as critical as the infrastructure itself. The construction of infrastructure usually takes capital outlays and debt financing, which are repaid with user rates (yes, our money), charges (yes, our money), and revenues (which is often times, yes, our money). However in this case, a very wise investment.

Why is infrastructure investment important? I'm glad you asked.

The quality of a community's infrastructure is a huge determinant in evaluating quality of life. The same is true for businesses. Many times over, businesses have cited poor infrastructure (generally speaking) as a reason for their leaving a community. When the business leaves, jobs are lost, the money they poured into the community ends, any sort of linkages with other businesses ceases, and it could lead to bad publicity for the community.

Here are just a few benefits of infrastructure investment:
  • Supports Existing Businesses- provides necessary services for operations.
  • Increases Productivity- better infrastructure often leads to more efficient production.
  • Improves Quality of Life- livable for workers and retirees.
  • New Business and Resident Attraction- looks great in a recruitment and incentive package.
  • Facilitates Economic Development- often the number one issue for community prosperity.
  • Links Regions- connects citizens to other communities and opportunities.
  • Satisfies Health Requirements- safe drinking water and waste disposal.
  • Stabilizes Rates and Taxes- routine investments minimize future costs.

As you can see, infrastructure and the investing in it goes far beyond what we often think about in terms of its importance to us and our communities. My power was out for only a few hours (though it felt like an unending misery), but knowing at least this much about infrastructure, not only makes me grateful to live in a country where infrastructure investment is prioritized, but also to have these provided almost as a given. Businesses, families, and individuals alike, we should be grateful for the infrastructure in our communities and speak up where we see constraints or hindrances in our own lives or down the road for the future of businesses (that, by the way, create jobs).

And while I'm speaking of infrastructure, if you live in the Atlanta area it is critical that you and anyone else you know, vote "YES" to the July 31 TSPLOST and Transportation Referendum. The economy will thank you later.

Before you go, I'll ask that you do me one of three easy breezy favors (two if you like, three and I'll give you a shoutout in my next posting)... 1) Subscribe to the Pianomics Inc. RSS News Feed to receive updates on new postings 2) Join my site 3) Post a comment.

Thanks & God Bless

Here are some other good reads on infrastructure and info on the upcoming Transporation Referendum:


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