Fowler: Fixing Victoria's infrastructure now paves road to tomorrow's success

Oct. 21, 2010 at 5:21 a.m.

There has been much discussion in the community lately about various infrastructure projects, from overpasses and sewer plants to specific streets and new utility lines.

What our local officials are experiencing is exactly the topic of Ezra Klein's recent article in the Oct. 11 issue of Newsweek. Klein makes the observation that in this sluggish economy, materials and labor for most infrastructure related projects can be purchased well below the normal costs.

And, if you need to borrow for such projects, finance charges are as cheap as they have been since the 1950s.

The article suggests any government that runs like a business should surely take advantage of the times. After all, no successful CEO would want to come out of a recession and into a boom unprepared to take care of business.

This case for sound city planning was supported by noted economist Ray Perryman. I had an opportunity to hear Perryman speak to the Texas Economic Development Council last week. He told the group there are billions of dollars in private capital in U.S. companies waiting to be spent.

He advised that lack of confidence in the current market is causing businesses to hold back spending capital - but that won't last forever.

Perryman believes our economy is on its way back up, and when market confidence is fully restored, there will be the huge release of pent-up capital, which will be invested in new or expanding business ventures.

It seems to me that when you put these two information points together, you can assume great opportunities lie ahead for those communities that put themselves in a good position financially and have taken advantage of the times to replace old, worn-out infrastructure.

When companies begin to invest again, they will look for the communities that are prepared to handle the growth. Those communities that are unprepared will lose out on the chance to take advantage of these opportunities.

Klein further observes there has never been a better time to rebuild, and I agree. I am proud of our community leaders for having the wisdom to use bargain prices of materials and labor to move significant projects forward.

Thank you for using our tax dollars wisely and having the intelligence of forethought to get Victoria ready to take care of business.

D. Dale Fowler is president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp.



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