Thanks for visiting my first blog as ASCE’s President. This forum will give me the opportunity to discuss what’s happening in the world of civil engineering and at ASCE. I welcome your comments on my posts and if you have a good point or a question, I’ll do my best to reply.
As ASCE’s 2012 president, I intend to spread our message on the poor condition of and the urgent need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. The Washington Post’s Business section recently produced an exceptional special report on infrastructure. Not only does it help get the message out to its influential readers, but the Post’s reporting will also provide inspiration for making the case yourself for investment at the state and local level.
A column by Barry Ritholtz states articulately and bluntly how dire the situation is: “If you have spent much time traveling around the United States, you likely have noticed that our infrastructure looks a bit worn and tired and in need of some refreshing. If you spend much time traveling around the world, however, you will notice that our infrastructure is shockingly bad. So bad that it’s not an exaggeration to declare it a national disgrace, a global embarrassment and a massive security risk.”
Ritholtz also cites ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and its overall grade of “D,” then highlights the contrast between investment need and what’s being proposed. He notes how recent proposals for $50 billion in spending seem slight in the context of our Report Card’s call for $1.1 trillion in additional investment over five years to raise the country’s grade from its present “D” to a “B”.
The Post also offered a peek inside the current thinking of lawmakers, administrators and others in Washington with an online discussion (see video highlights.) Plus the paper included special written commentary from many of the same participants. These included House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL), and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who said straight out, “We need to find pots of money to do big things and to leverage that money against private money in the country. No better way to do it than the infrastructure bank.”
The section’s main feature looks at the pros and cons of privately funded infrastructure. Check out the Post’s special infrastructure content, and come back here to the blog to share your impressions in the comment section.