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Civil Infrastructure and COVID-19: Why We Need To Keep Moving

20/04/2020

As a company that is a supplier to the construction and civil infrastructure industries, we’ve been, for the most part, unaffected by COVID-19. This, however, doesn’t mean we haven’t noticed changes in the industries and haven’t had to make changes in our own company. Throughout the increasing restrictions, we’ve been grateful for the one thing the governments haven’t restricted, construction. Not only because it supports jobs but because construction, especially civil infrastructure construction, is one of the biggest drivers of economic growth.

Investment in civil infrastructure is not easily quantifiable, but the impacts have wide-spanning influence. Civil infrastructure has the potential to impact entire cities and change the way they function for the better. But how does this have anything to do with COVID-19? Continued investment in construction and maintenance of civil infrastructure during the COVID-19 shutdown and after will help stimulate our stalled economy through three key benefits:

  1. Economic benefits
  2. Social benefits
  3. Short and long term positive effects

Have you ever considered how nice it is that your toilet flushes? Or that you’re able to walk to a bus stop? Here in Australia we often take these little luxuries for granted. Through the later part of the 20th century our governments, federal, state and local, rolled up their sleeves and invested heavily in bringing essential services and utilities to their towns and cities. This moved the whole country forward and we’ve seen strong economic growth in part because of it.

1. Economic Benefits

While spending money during an economic downturn or recession can seem like the wrong thing to do, spending it on civil infrastructure has well known direct economic benefits. The investment positively impacts the unemployment rate and keeps more households off government payments. Both things that see a dramatic increase during a recession. With restrictions related to COVID-19 essentially shutting down the country, now is a better time than any to increase work on projects, both current and future.

With the high levels of COVID-19 reporting, and the global research we have access to, we are able to safely operate construction sites and undertake maintenance work on civil infrastructure. This not only keeps workers safely in jobs but utilises a period in time where traffic and peak hours don’t exist. By continuing work on civil infrastructure projects like road upgrades, new train lines and tunnels, when cities come out of COVID-19 hibernation, these projects will be ahead of schedule and the economic benefits will be felt earlier.

2. Social Benefits

The social benefits of continued investment in civil infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak are both individual and communal. Upgrades to roads, new train lines, tunnels and public transportation provide more options and more connectivity to neighbourhoods that may previously have been cut off. This means more job opportunities and transportation options for the people living there.

When a government installs or upgrades essential utilities, such as electricity, internet, water and sewerage, they provide those living in the area with a higher quality of life, which has more than just an economic benefit. With everyone sheltering-in-place during this COVID-19 lockdown, now more than ever is it important to have functional and reliable utilities where you are living 24/7.

3. Short and Long Term Positive Effects

In the short term, investment in civil infrastructure means more than anything, jobs. If you want to build a road, a bridge or an airport, you need a village to complete it. From tradies to suppliers, project engineers and managers to lawyers, multiple industries are supported by the civil infrastructure project. This not only means that people are able to support themselves, but they and their businesses are able to pay government taxes, which pay for the projects, the investment coming full circle.

In the long term, investment in civil infrastructure enables cities, towns and neighbourhoods to prosper. It is often said that for every $1 spent on infrastructure it provides an economic boost of $2. When you connect cities through public transport, reliable roads and essential utilities, the cities give back by opening businesses, spending locally and living locally. It’s been seen time and time again, the more a government invests in an area, the more the locals do too, which in turn helps the local economies.

H2: Manhole Form Hire Supports Investment in Civil Infrastructure

Here at Manhole Form Hire, we know the value of investing in civil infrastructure and we hope that over the coming months our governments think the same way and keep civil infrastructure projects and maintenance moving forward.

To read more about our relationship with the civil infrastructure industry read our blog The Importance of Manholes to Civil Infrastructure here.

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