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President Biden’s infrastructure plan has spurred much debate. It has a staggering price tag. It includes items like early learning centers, clean drinking water, broadband internet, clean energy, workforce development, and eldercare. Are these things infrastructure? Should our tax money be spent on them?

I was unable to find a dictionary that limited the definition of infrastructure to roads and bridges, ports and airfields. Modern definitions include services and personnel as well as projects of many types.

What does this mean to the average person? Here’s an example. My local phone company is unable to keep landline phones working reliably. Cell phone service is also sketchy. My neighborhood lacks telecommunications infrastructure.

Last summer, I met a young resident of Davis, West Virginia. She had injured her knee. She needed a ride to Oakland, Maryland, to get an X-ray and a good medical evaluation. Ask her whether medical facilities are infrastructure.

Many West Virginians, Texans, and others were without power for many days last winter. Ask them whether our electrical system is infrastructure. Ask a high school graduate whether a new technical school for her county is infrastructure. Ask someone whose tap water is unsafe to drink. They will tell you that clean water is infrastructure.

Ask the crew of young people who traveled from the heart of coal country to install solar panels on my roof in Shepherdstown. They told me they were excited to be developing new energy infrastructure along with promising careers.

All of these functions are necessary for our country to function well. They are infrastructure.

The American Jobs Plan is a necessary expense. It will pay for itself with a revived economy.

Aileen Curfman

Shepherdstown, WV

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