Once upon a time there was an Empire that decided it would embark on a huge public project to tie together all its far-flung lands. The connections that were intended to knit the empire together, to foster economic opportunities, and to allow its citizens to travel, communicate and exchange goods and services.
Smaller areas adjacent to the main arteries of the project were asked to join, These areas were also afforded the option to be bypassed. Many chose this latter option, in the name of preserving their local integrity, of maintaining their local mores, or out of distrust of the Empire.
A generation passed. One area, known as “Bolton”, was located within a scenic mountain range. The town of Bolton welcomed a local scheme to develop a ski area within its borders. Half of their mountain range was cut with ski trails. In the end, they had a lovely recreational opportunity. The citizens of Bolton anticipated a huge influx of tourists to their ski area and looked forward to growing rich. But the tourists never came. They were seen whizzing by in their SUVs along the new infrastructure which Bolton had declined a generation earlier, on their way to other ski areas. “If only we had made sure that we got that Bolton exit off the Interstate”, they lamented.
The ski area went bankrupt and closed. Another person bought it and ran it for a few years before going bankrupt again. A third company bought the ski area and ran it for several years before it went bankrupt again; and in the process millions of dollars were lost.
Another generation has passed. And Bolton doesn’t have an exit off the Interstate, and the Bolton Valley ski area has another owner. They are still waiting for the skiers.
Some infrastructure opportunities come once in a a couple of generations and if you miss the window of opportunity you may never catch up.
Rural Electrification, Interstate highways, Broadband Fiber.