Monday, December 15, 2008

Pennsylvania writer calls for a rural stimulus plan

Urban areas, with their high concentration of voters, often reap the benefits of government funding over rural areas. This is particularly true in Pennsylvania, where Philadelphia and Pittsburgh help make make the population of urban counties triple that of rural counties. But one writer says with all of the focus on economic stimulus plans, Pennsylvania should take the opportunity to invest in better infrastructure in non-metropolitan areas.

"In rural Pennsylvania, because miles of roadway responsibility are funded by a smaller tax base per mile, the choice is between higher taxes or ignoring the problem," writes Dennis Powell, president of Massey Powell, an issues-management consulting company, writes on As a result, many rural highways are deteriorating. Powell notes that largely rural Interstate 80 even became a toll road to support road construction in urban areas.

Powell worries that as the economic stimulus plan is being discussed, rural voices will once again lose out to urban interests. Rural areas "could contribute to the nation’s economic recovery and provide an alternative for many urban residents who want improved quality of life or are thinking about retiring to an area that is less expensive," he writes. "The problem is we have to get our own state officials, and the Obama administration to start paying attention." (Read more)

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