Sunday, February 8, 2009

Follow up to CP's Post about New Orleans

See Cheryl's post at

As Cheryl saw first hand, the failure of certain key pieces of infrastructure can be catastrophic. A primary cause of the devastation in NO was the failure of the levy system, resulting in flooding beyond words. In addition to the floodwaters from the gulf of Mexico, NO was also surrounded by a fairly good size lake, Lake Ponchartrain, which I believe flooded its banks as well during the storm.

In my current job, I work in internal audit for Columbia Gas, our local gas distribution company. Columbia is a segment of NiSource Inc, providing gas distribution services to customers in Ohio, Pa, Ky, Va and Md. NiSo also provides electric service in Indiana, as well as constructs natural gas pipelines so that we can get gas to our customers.

As a company, our number one priority is to provide safe service to our customers. When we as consumers flip the switch to "heat", we are relying on the fact that our local gas companies have taken all precautions to provide us with safe service. That means immediate response in dangerous situations (leaks), fixing those leaky pipes and replacing them when necessary. This can get expensive - very quickly. But it is an investment we have to make, for the safety of our consumers.

As we continue into these tumultuous times, it is apparent that we as a country have some significant infrastructure issues. The best examples I can think of include the levy failures in NO, the bridge collapse in MN and our aging air traffic control system and the apparent increase in the number of near misses. Failures in these areas have proven to cause complete devastation -and are very expensive to fix. Our local news investigated bridge safety in the state of Ohio after the bridge collapse in MN, and found that over 100 bridges were unsafe throughout the state. Unfortunately, these are very costly fixes, and with budgets dwindling, prioritizations gets tighter and our citizens are at risk.

My job has really opened my eyes up to the importance of paying our tax dollars to support infrastructure. I am not saying I necessarily agree with how they are spent, but as a consumer and as a homeowner, I am coming to find out that these tax dollars are critical in providing citizens with services we take for granted. Although I live in the city of Dublin, I still pay Cols taxes and have Cols city services. The city's yard waste contract with our local recycler expired a few weeks ago, so we no longer have city yard waste removal. I am hopeful the company that does my other recycling will provide that service to customers for a charge (money I would gladly pay!!!) but this is yet another example of how citizens are impacted by the shortage of funds for basic needs - keeping our yards nice and the yard waste off the street.

I don't mean to be on a soapbox here, I only post this to encourage you to think about the infrastructure in your area and why it is so important.

1 comment:

the youngbergs said...

Eye opening for sure....and such a great points.