Infrastructure’s long economic shadow
On the other hand, “economic benefits of infrastructure investment reverberate though every sector of the economy.”
To see the threat to local economies, one need only to look at the economic impact of the recent closing of the Skinners Falls Bridge, which has had a decidedly negative effect on the Milanville General Store, and has contributed to the further isolation of that rural community.
Luckily, the Narrowsburg Bridge will not shut down, but one can foresee that single-lane traffic will likely only bring backups and congestion at certain times. Commuters who have other choices of where to cross the river may decide to avoid the Narrowsburg crossing, and for the few months while the new weight limit is in effect, heavier commercial traffic will be rerouted to avoid Narrowsburg. The bridges of the Upper Delaware are arteries that keep the economic lifeblood of the region circulating. The fact that our bridges have gotten to this deplorable state, when warnings about failure to invest in infrastructure have long been common knowledge, is disgraceful.
Today, we find ourselves at a crossroads. We can either continue on this path of letting our infrastructure deteriorate from insufficient investment, or we can turn the corner to follow a new path. Rural communities are at risk for being left behind in the decades ahead unless there is meaningful investment in our economic future. At a bare minimum, rural communities like ours need safe, reliable roads and bridges, clean air and water, enough electricity, enough jobs. We need investment in infrastructure if we are to have a good foundation for a bright economic future. Further neglect is unacceptable for the future wellbeing of the Upper Delaware Region.
*Data is from the study, “Socioeconomic Value of the Delaware River Basin in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania: The Delaware River Basin, an economic engine for over 400 years” by Gerald J. Kauffman, University of Delaware, October 11, 2001. See: www.state.nj.us/drbc/library/documents/SocioeconomicValueDRB-UDEL-FinalR....