A different view on infrastructure

09 Jan A different view on infrastructure

The following article suggests that federal spending on infrastructure will cost counties and towns challenges in the long term because once the infrastructure is built the local governments are stuck with the high costs of maintaining.

This is no different from the State of SC having built a farm to market road system that led to larger roads. Now the roads are wearing out and there are no dollars for maintenance so the city ends up paying to repair state sideways and maintain and repair state stormwater systems.

It’s time to get back to the basics of taking  better care of what we have, stretching dollars and enhancing necessary services.

I am by no means opposed to infrastructure projects, but we must be careful to not assume debt that we cannot repair or invest in projects that do not generate the revenues required to maintain the asset.  By the time the Boundary Street Redevelopment project is completed most of our out of pocket expenses, raised over a period of many years ahead of time through what we call TIF II, will leave us with no outstanding debt and the potential for about $150 million in new property values as new businesses, residences and offices are created over time.  Furthermore, we are not borrowing to purchase the open space that will enhance the gateway to our beautiful city because the city contribution to the three way partnership between the city, the county and the Beaufort County  Open Land Trust have been set aside over the years for such purposes.

I do think there are some answers in this story about the future to development on Ladys Island which is growing very fast but not very efficiently because sprawling residential development never generates the dollars required to maintain the necessary infrastructure while redevelopment making room to add value through businesses, jobs and additional tax dollars normally pays its way.  More to come on Ladys Island and I would encourage all to go to the Sea Island Coalition Community Planning Session where the future of the island will be discussed.

While I do not totally agree with the premises of the following article, I find it well worth the few minutes it will take to read it.