As the infrastructure bill is still in limbo, with no end in sight due to lack of bi-partisan cooperation, state and local governments remain frustrated with how to begin their long overdue infrastructure projects, and how to obtain the necessary funding as well.
What seems like never ending reports of water main breaks, lead poisoning, failing and overloaded electrical grids, crumbling roadways and so on remind us daily that these problems continue to become worse as time is passing us by.
We have noticed many local utility companies have begun the enormous task of replacing outdated water, gas and sewage lines with State-of-the-Art Infrastructure made of composite materials, along with digital cameras placed along these lines to monitor and detect any problems areas. This leads to faster responses to correct these situations, along with more accurate locations in which to make these repairs, without the usual “searching for the problem areas”!
These companies have also realized the scale and scope of these infrastructure projects, and have taken action with long-term plans to benefit their customers on a block-by-block and community-by-community basis. Naturally, the cost of such an undertaking is as enormous as the projects themselves, and the utilities are forced to pass on a major portion of these costs to their customers in the form of higher utility bills.
We are in 100% agreement with these utility companies with their acknowledgement of their aging infrastructure problems, and with their plans to correct these issues.
However, we would also like to provide alternative ways for state and local Governments to also begin to correct their infrastructure issues, without the immediate shock of higher than expected costs to the consumer, and without the never ending politics that come along with federal programs that may or may not see the light of day…
First, we must acknowledge that we need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and realize that these problems are not going to fix themselves by ignoring them, or waiting for Federal assistance. Infrastructure is not like fine wine, is does NOT get better with age!
Second, State-of-the-Art infrastructure is the KEY to the success of any project, no matter the scale or scope of the project! The same applies to state and local government projects, as it does to private developments. Well designed and well-maintained infrastructure can ease the costs to the everyday citizen, as well as allowing and community or city to grow and attract new business. By having continued monitoring and maintained infrastructure reduces the costs to the state and local governments as well!
Third, plan ahead!!! Rebuilding of infrastructure takes time and money, and will not be completed by Friday!! We recommend to all of our clients around the world to plan on infrastructure that will serve your customers for at least 20-years, and implement the technologies for around the clock digital monitoring and design the systems to be expandable for continued growth… skeptics say “Easier said than done”… we say “PLAN AHEAD NOW”!!
Quality is never cheap and cheap is NEVER QUALITY!!
The initial costs of these infrastructure projects may seem daunting, however, we say “BEGIN NOW and THINK LONG-TERM”!! The benefits of correct and detailed planning in advance will far out way the costs of NOT thinking long-term!
Fourth, funding for these projects is available without federal funds, and you must be willing to not sit and wait for a federal handout. As the old saying goes, “there is no such thing as a FREE LUNCH”! On one of our many redevelopment projects, we were offered a “Grant” to eliminate a severe curve in a major road way the provided access to a much needed industrial area. As we read the requirements and mandates of this proposed “GRANT” is was actually cheaper for us to do the work required on our own and pass on the State Grant!!!!
As always, we welcome any and all professional comments and your related work experiences as well, and we stand at the ready to be a benefit to all who would like to begin their infrastructure and development projects.
Terry L. Smith
CEO and President, CREF, Inc.
Terry L. Smith is the President & CEO of CREF, Inc. His 40-years of international finance and development covers many aspects of Smart Cities, Commercial Real Estate and Energy development.