Hamilton Kent Blog

Why we need to increase infrastructure spending: 3 recent examples

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It’s no secret that we’re a big proponent of increased infrastructure funding — whether it’s roads, highways, bridges, or water and sanitary systems. You only have to look at recent reports from cities and towns all over North America to understand why.

News stories like these crop up almost every day, so we’ve rounded up some recent examples to highlight the need for increased infrastructure funding from federal, state and municipal governments.

The state of Kansas received an overall “C” grade on its infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), with a C-minus specifically for roads (for the record, the US’s overall grade for roads is a “D”).

Although the state’s grade went up slightly since last year, it still has a backlog of projects expected to cost millions of dollars — a matter complicated further by recent budget cuts.

When states like Kansas fail to preserve and update their road and highway infrastructure, it causes safety issues for drivers as well as many short- and long-term economic impacts.

As one source explains in the Hays Post story, failure to maintain and preserve road infrastructure ultimately leads to more money spent fixing and replacing those roads.

The same can be said for water and wastewater infrastructure. In an effort to pay off debt it racked up from previous projects, the city of Calgary, AB has approved a plan that could hike up utility rates for its residents.

While new regulatory requirements add to the burden, debts like these often stem from poorly-managed maintenance regimens and dodgy politics.

Major infrastructure overhauls require massive investments, but the initial cost is usually far less than the costs incurred by doing piecemeal maintenance and emergency repairs. Policymakers need to dig deep to save themselves — and taxpayers — more expenses and complications down the line.

Otherwise you get stories like these: a major pizza chain starts fixing roads across the US because, well, who else is going to do it? Domino’s is apparently tired of having its pizzas jostled by potholes, so the chain is investing its own money into paving roads and patching potholes in cities like Bartonville, TX and Milford, DE.

Although we can’t say this is a bad use of someone’s pizza money, we would certainly like to see government agencies involved in these types of projects, either through a public-private partnership or by managing and funding the work themselves.