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Citizens Must Hold Elected Officials To A Standard That Makes Our Infrastructure Resilient
By Paul Adler, Esq.
Say it with me in-fra-struc-ture – now that’s a really big SAT word, and even bigger concept that requires our understanding and attention. Infrastructure is not just something real estate professionals are concerned with.
Infra means “below”, so the infrastructure is the “underlying structure” of the country and its economy, the fixed installations that it needs to function as a civilized society. These include roads, bridges, dams, water, power, internet and telecommunications, sewer systems, rails, airports, and harbors. To make matters more complicated, there are three types of infrastructure.
Soft Infrastructure refers to the institutions that help maintain a healthy economy like health care, cultural facilities, parks and recreation, and other social structures.
Hard Infrastructure refers to the physical systems that keep the economy and our way life running.
Critical Infrastructure refers to defense industrial base sectors, energy, food and agriculture, financial sectors, transportation systems, chemicals and communication systems.
OK Paul – yada yada – all that doesn’t affect me! Don’t the President and Governor have to deal with that stuff? There is nothing John Q. Public can do about infrastructure – right? Wrong! Infrastructure begins at the local level. Our village, town and county officials make important decisions every day concerning infrastructure – what they do, or don’t about infrastructure.
Do you have paved public roads? Are drainage, storm drains and flood control systems in place? Are they adequate and properly maintained? Do you have municipal sanitary sewer service, water, gas and electric and telecommunications at your property? How old are the systems serving your community? What plans are in place to upgrade, replace or renew the infrastructure below your feet?
If done right, you needn’t give a second thought to flushing a toilet, turning on the power, opening the faucet for water or driving over a bridge. We expect it to happen efficiently and safely.
The father of modern American infrastructure was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who electrified a rural nation into the greatest industrial nation on the planet. In the last 85 years since FDR, we have virtually ignored our aging infrastructure at our peril. On the environmental front we are paying the price for not upgrading our power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero emissions future.
It is imperative to upgrade our local infrastructure to strengthen our supply chains and prevent disruptions that have caused inflation. This will improve U.S. competitiveness, create more and better jobs at these hubs, and reduce emissions.
Our role as citizens it to hold our elected official to a standard that makes our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. We take infrastructure for granted – but we shouldn’t. We can’t.
Paul Adler is Chief Strategy Officer of Rand Commercial. email@example.com
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