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City’s ailing infrastructure can be fixed - but it’s only getting patched | READER COMMENTARY

In July, workers dig at the intersection of Bosley Road and Joppa Road in Towson where a water main break and natural gas leak were remediated.
In July, workers dig at the intersection of Bosley Road and Joppa Road in Towson where a water main break and natural gas leak were remediated. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

As someone who works in the infrastructure industry, I am frustrated with the state of Baltimore’s infrastructure problems (”Baltimore’s water woes: Same old, same old. Let’s set a date for reform; our suggestion: April 8,” Dec. 23). Baltimore has everything it needs to have some of the best public infrastructure in the United States and the only reason it does not is because it lacks the political will to spend the money and spend it wisely.

We have Morgan State University, the University of Maryland, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Towson University, all training and graduating civil engineers, surveyors and construction managers. We have industrial suppliers Core & Main, Ferguson, LB Water, and Belair Road Supply all located in and around Baltimore, so there is no shortage of companies capable of supplying all the materials that Baltimore needs to replace its aging pipes.

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Similarly, with Anchor Construction, Clark Construction and a dozen other high quality construction contractors with headquarters or branches in either Baltimore or nearby cities, not to mention Baltimore’s civil engineering firms, there is an embarrassment of talent and institutional knowledge already here. All we need is a city government willing to make the investment, a city willing to let us work.

It won’t be quick or cheap. It took decades for Baltimore to fall into such disrepair and it will take probably a decade of concerted work to repair it. However, over the long-term, city residents would pay less in taxes and water bills than they do now. The cost to upkeep well-maintained infrastructure is substantially lower than it is to plug holes as it slowly breaks down which is what the Department of Public Works currently does.

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The best time to have made these investments was 10 years ago so we could be enjoying the benefits today. The second-best time to start is today.

Chris Nutt, Baltimore

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