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Engineering palette makes Tech best choice

It is a ridiculously ironic paradox that one of the most vital issues affecting the lives of every American is rarely raised in election campaigns for federal office.

Literally the foundation of civilized society, infrastructure – structures and systems that serve an economy and are essential for a country, region, or organization to function properly – is perhaps the most underappreciated aspect of modern society. Where would we be without roads, bridges, dams, landfills, power generation and distribution, water and sewer systems, railways and subways, airports and harbors? We’d be in the Third World.

In addition to incalculable practical benefits, infrastructure also acts as the basis of an economy, directly driving land value and economic development. Generally government-built and publicly owned, they also create countless design and construction jobs and effectively permanent jobs in their maintenance, so the oft-repeated mindless mantra that “government doesn’t create jobs” is baloney.

Infrastructure and the environment interact constantly and in complex ways, requiring advanced, multidisciplinary engineering to manage. So where did the Environmental Protection Agency go recently to establish an operation to help government agencies find better ways to manage and maintain their infrastructure and to minimize their impact on the environment? Where is there a place offering multidisciplinary engineering centers for technology and training, sustainable futures and transportation centers and schools of business, economics, civil engineering and environmental engineering?

That place is Michigan Technological University, the new home of an EPA environmental finance center, a recognition that comes with a six-year grant of up to $5.6 million.

The center will receive baseline funding from the grant, and when word of Tech’s engineering resource capacity gets out, additional funding will come through applications for future projects.

Tech’s selection was a great choice for the EPA, and that will pay huge dividends to American taxpayers for the foreseeable future.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial

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