The Transylvania Times -

Don't Forget Infrastructure

 

October 13, 2016



There are many items dominating coverage of the upcoming elections. One item that is being shortchanged is our need for improved infrastructure at the local, state and federal level.

At the local level, we have numerous infrastructure needs. In last Thursday’s edition of The Transylvania Times, two of the three stories on the front page had to deal with infrastructure. They included needed improvements to Wilson Road and the need for sidewalks along the Asheville Highway so that elderly people who live in places like The Cottages at Brevard can get to places easily and safely. The third story dealt with flooding, which also can have an impact on, and be impacted by, infrastructure. Improper drainage, for example, can increase street flooding.

Those are just a few of the local infrastructure needs. The two major infrastructure decisions that will be facing county leaders are the schools, which have needs in the $100 million range, and the county courthouse.

The state also has major infrastructure needs, primarily transportation in the fast-growing Piedmont section. But roads and bridges in the more rural regions, including Western North Carolina, also need to be repaired or replaced. And the costs also include upkeep of our state forests and parks. DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gorges State Park recently received some much needed funding, but there undoubtedly will be more work to be done in the future.

The same is true for our national parks and forests, including Pisgah National Forest. Efforts by volunteers in such events as Pisgah Pride Day are certainly important and appreciated, but we cannot rely on volunteer efforts alone for the health of our forests. As use of our national lands increases, so does need for funding needed to maintain them.

Of course, our national needs extend far beyond national public lands. Our airports, harbors and interstates need extensive renovation.

Infrastructure is not a very exciting topic. It often flies under the radar until it impacts people directly, whether it be through the taking of one’s property through eminent domain, an increase in taxes or water and sewer rates, sitting in traffic for hours, or having our children wear coats in the classroom because a school’s old heating unit has gone out again. We need to pay attention to infrastructure and candidates’ stands on improving it.

 
 

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