In April 2023, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that his office had approved nine grants awarded to county and municipal governments. The grants were managed through the Rural Infrastructure Authority, and the goal was to attract more than $50 million worth of investment from the private business sector. Among the projects that have been earmarked for completion with these grants are extensions of water and sewer lines, state road improvements, and expansion of broadband access.
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How Infrastructure Attracts Private Industry Investments
Infrastructure is the foundation that supports the development and growth of any economy. It encompasses the physical and organizational structures, facilities, and systems that are necessary for the efficient operation of businesses. Infrastructure includes everything from roads, bridges, and transportation systems to power grids, communication networks, and data centers. In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, having robust and reliable infrastructure is crucial for achieving long-term success. In this article, we will explore what infrastructure is and why it is so important for business growth. We will also examine some of the key factors that businesses need to consider when building or upgrading their infrastructure.
Infrastructure is What Business Owners Need
Let’s say a group of agricultural entrepreneurs wishes to start a poultry farm where free-range birds are raised. In North Carolina, the Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte regions have a large population of health-conscious consumers who may be willing to pay a premium for high-quality free-range poultry, thus making this a potentially lucrative operation. Getting started with such a business will require more than just the land and the chicken house; there will be a need for a clean water delivery system, sewer lines, waste management, electricity, and transportation. These entrepreneurs may be able to find a cheap way to acquire or lease land in the rural sections outside of Asheville, for example, but they will need to ensure that reliable connections for electricity, water, and sewage are available at a minimum.
Infrastructure intended for business growth is a proven formula for business development. In essence, adequate infrastructure provides a stable and secure environment in which companies can operate. Unless they are engaged in civil engineering projects, business owners look for spots where existing infrastructure can support their operations on a long-term basis. For instance, data centers enable businesses to manage their operations more effectively and make data-driven decisions, but such facilities require the infrastructure of a robust broadband network wired with fiber optic lines.
How Infrastructure Generates Jobs and Economic Development
When the White House under United States President Joe Biden proposed a comprehensive infrastructure package in 2021, the proposal suggested that millions of new jobs would be created. The exact number of jobs that would be created was not specified in the proposal, but it is easy to imagine that thousands of workers would be engaged in highway and bridge construction, railway improvements, and many other projects around the country. Most of the new jobs created, however, would come after the projects were completed, and this is important to understand because it explains how infrastructure promotes economic development.
Industries such as construction, transportation, and clean energy are not the only ones that benefit from job growth. The White House proposal also included provisions to support job training and workforce development programs to ensure that workers have the skills and training needed to fill new positions indirectly generated by better infrastructure. In other words, companies will flock to regions and communities served by adequate infrastructure, thus generating new job opportunities for local residents. Imagine opening a hotel in an area with deficient wireless connectivity and roads that are filled with potholes; you can still attract guests through marketing, but imagine the Yelp reviews they will post after their stay.
In conclusion, infrastructure provides a foundation for growth, efficiency, and long-term success. Infrastructure is what enables businesses to operate effectively and meet the needs of their customers. As the business landscape continues to evolve, it is up to government agencies to prioritize investing in infrastructure in order to remain competitive and adapt to new challenges. By building robust and reliable infrastructure, government agencies can create a stable environment in which business owners can operate, drive productivity and growth, and support the communities in which they operate.