NYT: Helping Rural America Catch Up – Invest in infrastructure while interest rates are low

The New York Times recently posted a series on Helping Rural American Catch Up. The article that caught my mind was Jason Bailey’s opinion that Rural Areas are in Great Need of Technological Infrastructure...

However, with interest rates at historic lows, it is an opportune time for the federal government to make public investments that create more jobs today and build a foundation for growth in the future. In struggling rural areas, there is a need for investment in the physical, natural and technological infrastructure that has been a critical building block for a better economy elsewhere. That entails laying broadband lines, restoring and reforesting degraded land, repairing parks, and renovating housing and building stock to make it more energy efficient. Such investment has the added benefit of creating jobs that are accessible now to the working class men who have experienced some of the steepest job losses in recent years.

He says we owe it to the communities to support in them…

Rural economies experiencing transition will look different in the future, and the point is not to recreate the past. But we owe communities that have provided us with food, fiber, energy and water the support to shape their own destinies — especially when they face hard times because of broad changes beyond their control.

I don’t know if we owe it to them – but it does feel like an investment that will return benefits. Just yesterday I quoted an article in the Daily Globe that cited research on that ROI…

A 2011 study from Ericsson, Arthur D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology found that doubling the broadband speed for an economy increases GDP by 0.3 percent. This would equate to a $5.4 billion increase to the U.S. GDP.

I think it’s a case of when we all do better we all do better – we just need the tools to do it!

This entry was posted in Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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