The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure at The Evergreen State College recently released a new report, "Infrastructure Crisis, Sustainable Solutions: Rethinking Our Infrastructure Investment Strategies," to help industry leaders, academics, and the public rethink how communities are planned and the types of investment needed to manage, operate, and rehabilitate America’s infrastructure systems. The report, which has wide application to urban planning and the water, power, and transportation industries in particular, includes interviews from 70 of the Pacific Northwest’s key infrastructure innovators and thought leaders representing a variety of sectors.
According to findings in the report, infrastructure investments will have a direct impact on the U.S. economy, environment and local communities. Utility managers, transportation planners, scientists and politicians all agree that American infrastructure is aging. In the Pacific Northwest, and in regions across the U.S., facilities are deteriorating and maintenance costs are rising, but often, the resources needed to help fund capital improvements are shrinking.
“We need a new and different approach to fixing our infrastructure crisis,” said Liz Kelly, CH2M Hill vice president and senior consultant, who contributed to the report. “Public and private sectors need to work together for a step change in how we manage, operate, and rehabilitate our infrastructure, and even in how we define our role as infrastructure managers. Emerging technologies will also play a major role, as they present opportunities for lower impact and lower cost capital and operations and maintenance (O&M) solutions.
“But it’s not just about what gets built, it’s also about updating policies, optimizing O&M and building strong collaborative relationships with the communities served by the infrastructure.”
In the next few years, the U.S. will invest billions of dollars on infrastructure, and according to the report, the Pacific Northwest is positioning itself to become a national leader in the effort to identify more cost-efficient, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure systems. The report will be beneficial in helping Northwest communities transform how they think about, plan for, and invest in their infrastructure assets to make a positive difference in the community and drive the local economy.
“The report’s ultimate measure of success will involve an evolution toward healthy, prosperous, beautiful, and cohesive communities—ones driven by smarter investments. If we do it right, our infrastructure investments will help us to both strengthen our communities and overcome our most pressing environmental challenges,” said Rhys Roth, director of the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure at The Evergreen State College.
Source: CH2M Hill