May 6, 2024


“Most of the time, we live our lives within these invisible systems, blissfully unaware of the artificial life, the intensely designed infrastructures that support them. – Bruce Mau

As we approach national infrastructure week, we’re reminded that when we defer maintenance on our infrastructure and buildings/equipment, or even our organizations or strategic plans, the price that we eventually pay to repair them is always higher.

The investments being made through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are massive and meaningful. Projects like the Brent Spence bridge here in Ohio and less prominent repairs across the country are a stimulus to the economy and will hopefully provide strategic value to our nation’s economic and national security. See a map of the projects to date here.

There is much, much more to do as our economy and technology evolves. Whether it is water and wastewater facilities and pipes, mass transit systems, broadband across our cities and rural areas, or the obvious roads and bridges, it is imperative that we prioritize this opportunity to build, rebuild, repair, and leverage new “smart” technologies that can serve us into the coming decades and perhaps even the next century.

Our growing economy requires more energy, not less, so that we can develop our economy and secure our personal, corporate, and military assets from a growing set of threats. Electric vehicles, connected factories, and our financial assets all require abundant and secure energy. The focus of the energy transition is focused on decarbonization, but it will also require important investments in energy generation and transmission that have been deferred for much too long.

These projects require huge financial investment and take time. They will increase costs in the short term and require sacrifice and tough debate, but if they are done for the right reasons and practically, they may secure the position of the United States as the world’s economic leader for generations.

Reading recommendations

Thank you to all the elected leaders, public finance professionals, and strategic thinkers who are pushing for change. The adoption of new technologies to reduce cost and improve service will also require private sector innovators who are driving change and partnering with government. As an economic developer who has a front row seat to these partnerships, I remain optimistic!

Let’s have a great week, lift each other up, and move forward together.

Kenny McDonaldPresident and CEOColumbus Partnership