“With the new day comes new strengths and new thoughts.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Public building projects include so many different types of construction, including infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, ports, sidewalks, pipelines and public squares.
No one who’s seen the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2009 and 2013 report cards would be proud of the general state of affairs of U.S. infrastructure. As we continue to try and regroup after the recession, it has come to the forefront of conversation; but do we have any kind of a schedule, as a nation, to prioritize and address the most serious situations?
Our cities compete with each other, other states and even with other countries for the business that keeps people employed and supports local government, notes South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Chair Pam Lackey. It’s my hope that taking note of how those competitors emphasize infrastructure and using specific cases to illustrate to elected officials the impact that improving infrastructure in your region has on economic development has met with a measure of success.
On the local level, financing infrastructure and other building project with tax-increment financing funds has become status quo. Building with TIF is not without controversy, though it can handicap public services. Writer Ray Balogh presents a litmus test this month that includes evaluating whether or not the money is available to establish the TIF district, as well as the likelihood that redevelopment will take place as anticipated perhaps the most difficult question to answer objectively.
On another financial front, we’ve also talked in the past about the pros and con of implementing user fees for municipals services. But come to think of it, we’ve never suggested that you just tell local residents to go do their own darn street repair projects. Wouldn’t that save some money? Believe it or not, a few people have actually done just that — regardless of whether they had permission. What do your local laws against citizen-installed speed bumps and citizen-filled potholes look like?
July is also the time we’re reminded that, despite the challenges, we’ve built a remarkable nation. As the framers of today’s and tomorrow’s continued success, I hope you feel appropriately proud and rewarded.