Indiana sits at the crossroads of America, with most domestically manufactured goods traversing the state at some point along the supply chain. The Hoosier State’s central location, good infrastructure, and positive business environment has helped our state become a highly ranked destination for business. This ranking is good news, but it only tells part of Indiana’s story.
From roads to water to broadband, the quality of a community’s infrastructure directly impacts its residents’ quality of life. Southeastern Indiana, situated between Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Louisville, benefits geographically from the Ohio River, which produces fertile farmland and provides ports for shipping and tourism. Small historic towns populate southeastern Indiana, and in many respects, a trip to these communities often feels like a friendly trip back in time.
A walk down Main Street in Madison, Indiana, brings nostalgia for simpler times in America. Madison’s downtown hasn’t changed much in the past 100 years, despite how much the entire world around it has changed. Grote Industries is a fourth-generation, family business founded in 1901. Madison is home to us, and we believe in the importance of preserving our community’s historic character. But we would be remiss if we did not also look to the challenges of the future.
That’s why Grote Industries opened our state-of-the-art Next Generation Manufacturing Center right here at home in 2020. Our company chose to stay home in southeastern Indiana at a time when other manufacturers were closing their doors. The Grote family has invested in this community for generations and believes in what is great about our neighbors and our hometown.
Embracing that belief means encouraging the development of the skills and infrastructure required to better compete globally. To do this, the residents of southeastern Indiana need the same access to high-speed internet as those in neighboring metropolitan areas. By encouraging the development of 21st-century broadband infrastructure, we can ensure communities like Madison are not left behind. Ensuring equitable broadband access across all parts of Indiana is crucial to the economic success of our entire state.
In Madison, we are fortunate to have local and regional leaders who understand the value for our citizens in infrastructure investment. They understand that without access to the same level of broadband service as the big cities surrounding us, our schools, businesses, and farms will struggle to keep up.
Obtaining available federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide equitable broadband access to southeastern Indiana is imperative to modernizing our infrastructure and allowing southeast Indiana to compete in the decades ahead. These investments in modernizing southeastern Indiana will go a long way to ensuring the future success of our community.
The Ohio River Valley has provided for the families in our region for more than a century. Encouraging private and public sector investment will ensure the valley provides for the generations ahead. Without these investments, many of the historic towns our region is famous for will struggle to stay alive as the rest of the world moves faster and pulls further away. In other words, what is good today could be gone tomorrow.
John Grote is the Chief Operating Officer of Grote Industries, and a native of Madison, Indiana.