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Infrastructure key to future economic development

When the subject turns to infrastructure, most people's eyes glaze over. But nothing has illustrated the need for a sufficient infrastructure, perhaps, more than the recent announcement of the Charles Pointe planned community near Bridgeport. Without the adequate amenities of life, the project would not have flown.

Take water, for instance. The Clarksburg water filtration plant, built in the mid-1980s, has been a big selling point for economic development in Harrison County in the past decade. If it were not for an abundant supply of water, the FBI would not be here. And because the supply is plentiful, the city of Bridgeport, which gets its water from Clarksburg, will have no problems in supplying the needs of Charles Pointe.

Bridgeport also has a 5-year-old sewage treatment plant that operates at 45 percent capacity on a normal day and city officials say it can handle the needs of the new development and future projects as well.

And because the city expects some big users of water and sewage service, it is likely that the price of the services for all of us will remain stable in the years to come.

And then there are the roads. Interstate 79, U.S. Route 50 and the Bridgeport bypass will make access to the Charles Pointe complex quite easy.

We know that building roads in this state has never been an easy task. There are environmental concerns, to be sure. And we should never gloss over such issues. But we can and should seek to strike a balance between the environment and expanded infrastructure so that our economy can flourish.

Roads especially should never be built at the expense of the environment, but it should also be pointed out that good roads are vital to our attracting new businesses to the state.

Just as we don't want to damage the environment, we don't want to contribute to "sprawl," either. Our economic expansion must be carefully planned so as not to paint ourselves into a corner, so to speak.

As our state moves into the 21st century, we hope that a continued emphasis will be put on adequate infrastructure for our communities. Here in North Central West Virginia, we're reaping the benefits of decent water and sewage treatment and modern, four-lane roads.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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