Utah is a marketable place, so it’s no wonder that our state experienced the fastest population growth over the past decade. And while this influx of business, families and individuals has been a boon for our state, it has also pushed our infrastructure to capacity — especially in places like Box Elder County.

Limited water supply and inefficient systems continue to create problems for our communities. Many of our local roads and bridges are either nearing or have already passed their intended lifespans. Other highways and roads desperately need repair and expansion.

Even more, many in our community continue to face limited access to broadband internet. The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University (my alma mater) estimates that more than 78,000 Utahans are unserved. The cost of laying the necessary networks of fiberoptic cable networks is too high for any one private entity to take on themselves, without a partnership or incentives of some sort from government.

That’s why it is so meaningful that Sen. Mitt Romney helped author and pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides funding to deploy broadband to rural areas of our state. This includes at least $100 million from the Department of Commerce dedicated to building out broadband connectivity. That number will grow based on the Federal Communications Commission’s state maps of unserved households.

When it comes to politics, if you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu. While I may disagree with Sen. Romney on some issues, he was on the right side of this negotiation. Investing our state’s infrastructure will build a healthier, stronger future. And for that, Sen. Romney deserves our appreciation.

Stan Summers

Box Elder County Commissioner