Proper infrastructure allows freedom of movement, one of the greatest benefits of our society. We must maintain roads, bridges, and tunnels to allow businesses to transport goods efficiently and to allow us to get to work, to the store, and to pursue personal interests. Bike paths and sidewalks are important for quality of life and reducing environmental impacts. Public transportation, hi-speed internet, cellular phone service, rain gardens, sewage systems, and parks are also considered infrastructure. Proper infrastructure is critical to operating freely and efficiently.
Lack of affordable housing in our metro areas is pushing folks who rely on public transportation into our rural communities. We need to expand our public transportation infrastructure to include service to Marcola, weekend service to Oakridge, and all of the other under served rural communities of Lane County.
As a former small business owner, I know the importance of hi-speed internet to remain competitive and be successful. As a father, I know it’s important for our kids to have access for education and entertainment. As a Realtor, I know the challenge of buying and selling housing without internet access or cell phone service. Our rural communities are at a competitive disadvantage to attract businesses, tourists, and homeowners when they lack basic internet and/or cell phone service. I will work to expand affordable hi-speed internet to all areas of Lane County.
Roads and Bridges
Our roads and bridges maintenance programs are underfunded and/or not sufficient. We have 420 bridges in Lane County and lack a long term bridge maintenance plan. This is a danger to our ability to move goods, perform services, and attract tourism. It also presents a risk to our residents, many of whom rely on bridges to meet their daily needs.. We will secure funding for infrastructure to correct this and put people to work.
Electrified roads could soon be the future in Lane County. It’s exciting to consider the possibilities.
Imagine the county or cities partnering with business districts to install electric roads along their main routes to attract consumers to their locations. Or the main highways and freeways could have these, which would make commuting with all electric vehicles much more viable. Electrified stretches of I-5 could sweep in a wave of electric semi trucks, reducing pollution and our carbon footprint, while modernizing the transportation sector.
The cost of the electricity could automatically be billed to each vehicle. Alternatively, businesses could sponsor sections of roads to offset consumer charges. There are a lot of opportunities around this and Sweden is leading the way:
“The electrified road is divided into 50m sections, with an individual section powered only when a vehicle is above it.
When a vehicle stops, the current is disconnected. The system is able to calculate the vehicle’s energy consumption, which enables electricity costs to be debited per vehicle and user.
The “dynamic charging” – as opposed to the use of roadside charging posts – means the vehicle’s batteries can be smaller, along with their manufacturing costs.”1
An Israeli company is also working on this:
Bike Paths and Sidewalks
Bike paths and sidewalks are an important part of our infrastructure. They provide opportunities for exercise, increasing our quality of life, as well as efficient means of navigating safely without a vehicle. As we seek to build communities that allow folks to live and work in their own neighborhoods, bike paths and sidewalks will be critical.
Lane County is on the leading edge of bicycle tourism. Many of our rural communities are actively working to attract bicycle tourists and major biking events. Imagine a continuous route from Oakridge to Florence!
A Rain Garden receives water from impervious (hard) surfaces such as rooftops, sidewalks, driveways and patios. The shallow depression of the garden holds the water so it can slowly infiltrate back into the soil as the plants, mulch and soil naturally remove pollutants from the runoff. Many pollutants will be filtered out and break down in the soil over time. By capturing storm water, Rain Gardens reduce the amount of runoff pollutants collected and flowing into storm drains and out to our nearby streams, rivers and lakes.2
Local municipalities, like Eugene, are utilizing rain gardens to control storm water runoff. This helps slow down the runoff and filter it before it enters our rivers and waterways. As commissioner, I will encourage and support expanding these efforts countywide.