On March 24, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Peter Scher, published a post about the need to look beyond the ‘image of trains, highways, bridges, airports and ports’ in respect to the needs of America’s infrastructure. While improvements to our transportation systems are also drastically needed, addressing the less prominent, or perhaps less visible elements of our infrastructure, like water, wastewater, electric, and connectivity infrastructure, would have a broader impact on our overall economy by creating greater opportunity for business creation and growth.
Too often, Scher argues, the lack of infrastructure disproportionately affects low-income areas that could, in theory, benefit the greatest from infrastructure investment that results in economic stimulation.
What Scher acknowledges that we at the Clean Water Council has advocated, is the need for collaborative efforts between the business, non-profit, and local government communities to develop long-term infrastructure solutions. Comprehensive infrastructure projects are a necessary consideration of these collaborations and often provide cost-savings and construction streamlining. If an infrastructure project calls for resurfacing a local highway that runs over a wastewater network in distress, the government will end up paying to have the road resurfaced twice, once as a part of the initial project, and a second time after the wastewater system is replaced or repaired. If the wastewater system fails, cleanup and emergency response costs are added to the total bill. If the community had collaborated and developed a comprehensive, long-term plan to address the infrastructure needs, the initial project could have included repairing or replacing the underground infrastructure before repaving the road and saved significantly on the total cost of the project, freeing up capital for other infrastructure or public works projects.
The Clean Water Council strongly supports a comprehensive infrastructure investment approach that incorporates out-of-sight infrastructure to every infrastructure upgrade project. We fully support JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s willingness to be vocal about America’s infrastructure needs, and encourage their counterparts in the financial industry to join us in promoting underground infrastructure investment.
You can read Scher’s full article here.