Infrastructure can be defined as our future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 30, 2005

Infrastructure.You hear people talk about "it" all the time, almost like some mythical beast that can be glimpsed but never quite grasped.

Simply put, it refers to all the things we take for granted each and every day but also the things that will be vital to Lawrence County's growth and future.

Most people don't think about it but, without infrastructure, our lives would be drastically different.

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The roads you drive on to and from work, home or the grocery store are a vital part of this infrastructure. The water and sewer lines that keep your household clean and hydrated are part of that same infrastructure.

And the list goes on and on. Electrical service, gas lines, railroad access, a mail system, phone lines, computer connections, airports - all those are part of the infrastructure of a region, too.

Lawrence County is unique in that we have an aging, but very sound, infrastructure system that includes the river, rail, highway and air services. The Ohio River has long been a vital part of the Tri-State, helping this area go from wild frontier to civilized land we now call home.

Railroads may not be the booming power that it once was, but it is still a key part of business and industry.

Our highway system is solid and about to get even stronger once the Ohio Department of Transportation completes some repairs on U.S. 52 as well as several other state routes. The entire Tri-State has great access to I-64.

Though we don't have a massive international airport, the communities are served well by Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va., and the Ashland Regional Airport in Wurtland, Ky.

All these pieces are valuable tools in the belts of economic developers working to build the community. But we are not done. Much work remains.

State, local and national legislators must make the Chesapeake Bypass, or Tri-State Metro Outerbelt, their top priority. This span would link all three states and create metro area where the whole would truly be greater than the sum of its parts.

Next, leaders in Columbus must get a map and realize that Ohio does not end at Chillicothe or Portsmouth. A north/south highway would be a tremendous benefit and pay immediate dividends in terms of traffic and tourism.

We believe that the glass is truly more than half full - thanks in large part to the infrastructure that made the water possible in the first place.