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Rebuilding Our Damaged Infrastructure

Anthony Bates

“We need to build roads, bridges, airports, locks, dams, and rail that work for this century – not the last one. And let’s not forget about updating our energy grid, repairing and replacing our water infrastructure and sewers, and making sure all Americans have access to broadband.”

– Sen. Amy Klobuchar

The 7th District is in dire need of new infrastructure, our townships, villages, and cities have seen tremendous neglect when it comes to new roads, pipes, sewers, and broadband connections. Roads are expensive and time-consuming to maintain, in fact, some roads in our district have had to revert back to dirt. This is not how we want our community treated, being pushed off and forgotten. Large portions of our district are gravel roads and, as we all know, these roads are much more difficult and expensive to maintain, especially during the spring thaw. Our district’s main economic resource is agriculture, and our farmers prefer to travel on well-maintained paved roads, just ask them. As the next County Commissioner, I will make sure the Road Commission does their job and follows through on projects promptly with the highest level of satisfaction.

When it comes to pipes, the thought deeply scares me that there could be lead pipes carrying our drinking water. For myself personally, all I drink is water, and I care about what is in the water I drink. For a lot of our communities, the issue, simply, is that they don’t know what they have in terms of pipe infrastructure. When elected, I will make sure each municipality has the accessibility to perform infrastructure and utility surveys. I will also, personally, work with any municipality with substandard pipes in getting these pipes either fixed or removed entirely. No one should have to worry if a glass of tap water will hurt their health.

Sewer systems have been a semi-controversial issue in the district. Currently, not all municipalities in the district have sewer systems, and some feel it’s not a necessity; also building sewer systems and providing access to the entire district costs in the tens-of-millions of dollars. The issue in the past has really come down to money and necessity. As your next commissioner, I would prefer the entire district to have access to a sewer system, however, I am a realist and know that creating sewer infrastructure is tremendous in scale and extremely expensive. My position on the issue is that if a municipality feels they truly need access to a sewer system, then I will press the county for sewer construction. This issue really comes down to what you think your community needs.

Finally, Broadband Connections (FCC Link) in our district are, to be honest, lacking. If you don’t know what broadband is, broadband is high-speed internet access that is always on and is faster than traditional dial-up. Broadband can come in a variety of ways; Cable Modem, which is Wireless or Fiber Optics; through Satellites; or even over Power Lines (BPL). Our district needs access to broadband connections, high-speed internet helps our businesses thrive and our communities connect. As your next County Commissioner, I will work with telecommunication providers to ensure every person in our district has access to high-speed internet and satisfactory phone service.

Road Commission of Kalamazoo County – Fall/Winter Newsletter 2019 (Link)

Road Commission of Kalamazoo County – 2020 Approved Budget (Link)


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