We Can Count Booz Allen Hamilton Among Our Infrastructure Allies

January 19, 2012

I don’t need to tell you that ASCE has been working hard to persuade lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels of the urgency to invest in overhauling the nation’s aging  infrastructure. I have had cialis soft tavs the opportunity to take the case to Capitol Hill on behalf of ASCE, giving testimony before Congressional committees several times in the past few years. So it was gratifying to read a call to action Wednesday by the highly regarded government consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

I especially liked a comment in Booz Allen’s press release from Executive Vice President Mark Gerencser. Regarding the effect our polarized politics has had, Gerencser said “A lack of harmony in the political process is limiting our ability to accomplish the big things that are required to rebuild America’s infrastructure.”

In the context of the State of the Union address President Obama is set to deliver Tuesday, January 24th (remember his emphasis on infrastructure in last year’s address?), the release also outlines eight essentials that they say must be part of any discussion on revitalizing our infrastructure. And they are not all about throwing money at the problem; indeed one states “We cannot afford to buy our way out.” Another calls for regional, holistic approaches that encourage the creation of new ways for states and municipalities to work together on beneficial projects that straddle borders. I could see ASCE’s Five Key Solutions to raise the 2009 Report Card grades within their eight essentials.

I encourage you to read Booz Allen’s eight essentials, and share what you think of them in the comments below. Which do you agree with? Which do you take issue with?

Tagged as:
  • An interesting and strategic view from 30,000 feet. My experience and, hence, my view is more tactical: how do you get the disparete, often myopic interests working together? It seems to be a given that you have to spread the projects around just to get broad enough support to get anything done. In my region I have worked with our local association of governments to get tax funding for transportation improvements which were quite needed in one particular underserved area. To do this, we had to promise to provide less needed but costly improvements in the neighboring regions to get the political support for a broad funding base. Everyone, it seemed, needed a bite of the apple.

    On a related matter, we really need to improve our infrastructure project delivery record. Projects are routinely delivered late and over budget. In fact a 2007 AASHTO study on State DOT Project Cost and Schedule Performance (NCHRP 20-24) showed that for projects over $5mil only 18 percent were delivered within the original award amount and only 35 percent were on schedule. As a former county public works director and as someone who has worked with public agencies across the nation, this is very typical. We can and must do better. We can start by holding ourselves accountable and by developing and institutionalizing protocols to insure on-time, on-budget project delivery. Why on earth do we think that the public would give us more project money when we simply have not delivered. At this stage in my long career, this remains the fire in my gut. Booz Allen is right, throwing more money at the problem is not the answer – better project delivery is an essential first step.

  • “….lack of harmony….”?? That’s the understatement of the year. I have never seen a bridge with a (D) or (R) after its name. Our infrastructure is being held hostage the people we elected to protect it.

    It is our responsibility to speak out for infrastructure investment! It seems obvious no one else is.

Leave a Reply

— required *

— required *