The National League of Cities sees Infrastructure as the biggest concern for 2023.
2021’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided a unique opportunity to repair our city. It offered $185 Billion Dollars to repair the national as a whole and $1.5 Billion for Indianapolis specifically to fix our streets, build up public transportation, to fix our sewer systems, and to create new clean energy.
And yes, we are scrapping sewer projects, we are cutting back on our public transportation projects, we are rebuilding roads that we built for public transportation just a few years ago because our current system repays political favors by offering top jobs to those that should be middle managers at most. Our politicians care more about kicking back to those that have funded their campaigns than finding qualified and competent personnel ready to lead.
Our infrastructure projects are haphazard, and ill-defined at best, and don’t fix the problems we have today.
A 4-Point Plan for Revitalizing Infrastructure
Prioritize repairs and maintenance: It is important to prioritize repairs and maintenance to prevent small issues from becoming larger, more expensive problems. The city should regularly assess the condition of its infrastructure and prioritize repairs based on need.
Invest in technology and innovation: Technology and innovation can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure projects. For example, the city could invest in sensors and data analytics to better understand and predict the needs of its infrastructure, or explore the use of advanced materials and construction techniques.
Engage with stakeholders: Infrastructure projects can have a significant impact on the community, and it is important to engage with stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns. This could include holding public meetings, working with community groups, and seeking input from local businesses and residents.
Develop a long-term plan: It is important to have a long-term plan in place to ensure that infrastructure in Indianapolis is maintained and improved over time. This could include setting goals and benchmarks, identifying priorities, and establishing a timeline for completing projects.
Our official city animal could be a pothole. We need to actually prioritize our repairs and maintain our streets. We do not focus on neighborhoods our politicians do not visit, and our politicians go out of their way to not visit neighborhoods they find scary. We need a plan to regularly assess our streets and ensure that the most vulnerable neighborhoods are prioritized. People lose jobs when their cars break down because their axels break running into our official potholes.
A competent policy includes technology to alert our agencies before their is a major problem — and these technologies do not include a ‘report a pothole’ feature on a website that looks as though it were built in 2003, and works as if it were actually 1993. You cannot report potholes while driving down East 38th St. No, we need real plans. We need ways to identify the weak spots and repair damages while they are still minor and cost effective.
Engaging with stakeholders is paramount. When there is one road into the city because of statewide highway issues, permits should not be given to three different joining streets to attach new construction to sewers within the same week, guiding drivers down one lane alleyways to traverse downtown. Stakeholders need to know. And sometimes stakeholders need to be told that they have to wait a week until other projects are done.
Furthermore, infrastructure should come with the idea that 90% of all workers employed on these projects are Indianapolis residents. We have paid for out of state workers too long, and we’ve paid for companies that have big the lowest bids in order to compete while not paying anyone living wages. We need to ensure that any bid for any project caps the lowest paid employee at a wage that could afford housing within a 40-hour workweek.
Version 1.5 — Feb , 2023