My column in Sunday’s Baltimore Sun starts with a visit to the big drinking-water project at the city’s Druid Lake. Baltimore now has the largest underground storage tank for drinking water in the whole wide world. That’s according to city officials and engineers who have earned the boast. The massive tank, located in Druid Hill Park, will be tested for leaks next month and, if all goes well, it should be in service to the city’s 1.8 million water customers a year from now. Here’s a link to the column.

Inspectors at Druid Lake tank (Sun photos by Jerry Jackson)

I made a visit to the project, now in the last year of its four-year plan, while people in Texas were freezing and going without power and water — the latest of the nation’s disasters, and an avoidable one. Hey, you know what? America has come of middle age and the country needs a lot of repairs. I think everyone knows the jig is up, that we have putting off too many improvement projects for too long — a terrible place to be in the midst of climate change. Among Trump’s many failures was not going big on infrastucture spending while he was in office. But, of course, Republicans were obssessed with cutting taxes again, and you can’t go big on anything — water systems, roads and bridges, public transportation, public education and public health — if you’re going big on tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations.

President Biden and the Democrats have a big opportunity to succeed where Trump failed. There are new reports about the economic damage caused by the pandemic, and they are not good — millions of jobs permanently lost. In Maryland and the Baltimore region, economists believe full recovery could take three years. That’s why the timing is right for the Green New Deal, the idea being to go big with public-private investment to avoid climate calamity and train Americans for jobs in hundreds of new fields that will open up as we change the way we travel, heat and cool our homes, dispose of our waste and grow our food.

Hey, you know what? The country has had a lot of failure in recent years. Baltimore has, too. That’s why it was inspiring to get to Druid Lake and see that big project. It’s a reminder of the good and sometimes amazing things Americans can do — with sound priorities, smart leadership and the money that currently just goes to making the rich richer.

Druid Lake tanks: The one in foreground is 560 feet in diameter

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