“A rising tide doesn’t raise people who don’t have a boat. We have to build the boat for them. We have to give them the basic infrastructure to rise with the tide.”
Development and opportunity are created by people to serve people, to generate economic opportunity, and to enhance quality of life within our communities. As we know from the recently released census data we are constantly changing and diversifying. Our economy is also changing and is linked directly to where people are living, buying services and goods, and building their future.
Last week I traveled through Buffalo, New York and was struck once again by the history of the Erie Canal, completed in 1825 and perhaps the most important infrastructure ever invested in for Midwesterners. It opened up the potential for trade between the wealthy Northeastern states and the emerging frontier in the upper Midwest. It was the catalyst for the consumer economy, creating wealth and laying the groundwork for the United States to become a competing global economy, and eventually the largest economy in the world. Subsequent investments in a national rail system and the road and interstate highway systems were built upon this groundwork.
The recently released census data shows both a rapidly urbanizing population and communities that are more diverse than ever before. It shows where people are moving across the United States – and where money is quick to follow. The development of infrastructure including roads, airports, and public utilities has helped to create these trends and will continue to shape them as we invest in the coming decades.
The Columbus Region continued to grow, adding tens of thousands of new residents in its urban and suburban communities. Our need for infrastructure is obvious and urgent. Transporting our citizens, moving goods to be distributed throughout the world, and enabling everyone to access the digital economy are musts to maintain these trends. Likewise, infrastructure can serve as a lifeline to communities that have seen populations and resources shrink. Thoughtful infrastructure development can reverse these trends and create a new paradigm that yields different outcomes within a generation.
As we’ve written so often before, infrastructure development equals economic and community development. Let’s have a great week, stay healthy, and move forward together.