I remember the first highway cloverleaf built in my community. As a child I was amazed at what a large undertaking it was. A great deal of grading, paving, and a bridge. When it was nearly finished, elm trees and grass were planted and the road shoulders carefully groomed. Lighting was installed. I was never aware of the storm drainage until I saw other cloverleafs that were occasionally flooded by an unusual rainstorm.
As a child it occurred to me that all of this construction was done for transportation efficiency and public safety. I saw it as an extension of my elementary school textbook that focused on state government. As I came to know this cloverleaf, the elm trees planted there became stately and carried the character of the elm-lined street I knew onto the highway.
As an adult I came to realize that this cloverleaf received decades of maintenance. The trees were trimmed and eventually removed after the advent of Dutch Elm disease. The roadbeds and bridge were maintained and even the grass was cut regularly, litter was picked up and the snow plowed.
Fifty years later I saw this cloverleaf completely rebuilt to even higher standards. I have driven there all my driving life. I didn’t have to do anything, but I have come to appreciate this now common piece of government action. A tiny bit the small taxes I have paid over the years made it and all the other parts of our infrastructure possible. Good government planned it, built it and has maintained it all my life without me taking any action save for my small tax contribution and voting. The many honest hardworking public employees that have long anticipated my needs have kept the system running.
Now fast forward that St. Paul cloverleaf to today’s Pierce County. Our modern world runs on the internet, our businesses rely on it to keep in touch with their customers and suppliers, and our kids require it to be trained in the jobs of the future.
Governor Evers and President Biden have awarded Pierce County $6.7 million to build out a faster and more reliable internet system, mostly in rural areas. The Town of El Paso was awarded $1.3 million, Oak Grove was awarded $1.2 million, and other rural areas like Clifton, Hartland and Trimbelle also will be getting better connections. All of this, the amazing product of good government and a willingness to share with others through public revenue.