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Less is more when it comes to construction

By Marie Rohde

Call him an eternal optimist.

Eric Uram, the chairman of the left-leaning John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club, has found something to like in the recent Republican electoral landslide.

The demands of the electorate to slash tax spending could be good thing for the environment, Uram said in his column in The Muir View, the Madison-based group’s newsletter.

How? It could reduce big construction projects, he says.

That won’t be a job killer because repair work will keep crews busy but cost the taxpayers less.

“Seeking repairs and upgrades to existing infrastructure instead of building new roads and bridges can reduce taxpayer burden,” writes Uram. “Enhancing existing locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River instead of expanding them could increase wildlife protection while reducing flood damage by giving the river a more natural flow regime.”

Uram calls it a green scissors approach to tax reduction.

An artist's rendering released by the Minnesota Department of Transportation shows an aerial view of the proposed St. Croix River Crossing between Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis. (AP Photo/Minnesota Department of Transportation via St. Paul Pioneer Press)

An example: repair the bridge across the St. Croix River rather than replace it, he suggests.

Uram also calls for ending a bevy of subsidies for everything from agriculture and the coal, oil and gas industries and investing in energy-efficiency measures recommended by the Public Service Commission.

Marie Rohde is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. Full disclosure: her husband is a member of the John Muir Chapter.

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