Tag Archive for 'American Society of Civil Engineers'

AEM Launches Competition to Address $3.6 Trillion 
Infrastructure Problem in America

Infrastructure Vision 2050“Infrastructure Vision 2050” Challenge Competition to Award $150,000 
to Innovative Infrastructure Solutions


The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) today announced the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge— a three-phased, crowd-sourced competition to award a total of $150,000 in prizes for innovative ideas to overhaul the crumbling infrastructure that Americans rely upon to move people, materials, products, services and information.

Open to everyone everywhere, the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge leverages the HeroX crowdsourcing model designed to bring about radical business, technological and social innovation benefiting local and global communities, inspiring new industries and catalyzing markets.

“The United States is the strongest and largest economy in the world and yet the overall quality of our infrastructure is falling dramatically behind our global competitors,” said Dennis Slater, AEM president. “AEM’s members thought it was time to break the cycle of patchwork fixes and deferred maintenance and lead the conversation in a different direction.”

“We need to engage innovators who we haven’t heard from before and who have the ability to imagine how people, freight, energy and information will move in the country of tomorrow – even as far out as the year 2050,” Slater added. “With the HeroX crowdsourcing model, we’re confident we can bring these solutions to life.”

“HeroX was founded on our conviction that the crowd – everyday people with great ideas – can and will solve the world’s most pressing problems,” said HeroX CEO, Christian Cotichini. “The Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge moves the U.S. infrastructure conversation beyond traditional political channels for the first time and gives everyone affected by these issues a chance to voice their opinions and find solutions.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the U.S. a combined grade of D+ for the condition of its infrastructure. The report cites the nation’s 70,000 (one-in-nine) structurally-deficient bridges, the fact that 42% of America’s major urban highways remain congested, costing the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually, and an estimated 240,000 annual water main breaks as examples for why rebuilding the country’s infrastructure is such a critical issue. The report further estimates that it would take a $3.6 trillion investment by 2020 to bring U.S. infrastructure up to exceptional standards.

Competition Phases, Judging and Prizes
Finalists and winners of the three-phased Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge will be determined by a judging panel and crowd voting. The first two phases launch today. The third phase is scheduled to launch in mid-summer, 2016.

First phase: The “Complain Phase” will engage the public to describe the biggest infrastructure challenge facing their community.
Total Prize: $5,000 (10 finalists receive $250; overall winner receives $2,500)
Deadline to enter: March 15, 2016

Second phase: The “Dream Phase” will seek to solicit new thinking and solutions, especially from non-experts.
Total Prize: $45,000 (5 winners receive $9,000 each)
Deadline to enter: May 31, 2016

Third phase: The “Build Phase” takes the second phase a step further and solicits plans to implement those solutions on a larger scale.
Total Prize: $100,000 (Winner receives $100,00)
Deadline to enter: TBD

Judging criteria and other information can be found at the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge website.

About AEM http://www.aem.org AEM is a trade association that provides services on a global basis for companies that manufacture equipment, products and services used worldwide in the following industries: Agriculture, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Utility. AEM’s membership is made up of more than 850 companies and represents 200+ product lines. Twitter: @aemadvisor Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AssociationofEquipmentManufacturers

About HeroX http://www.herox.com Founded in 2013, HeroX exists at the intersection of crowdsourcing, competition and collaboration, using each to drive positive change. A suite of tools and services to help spark and build awareness for new solutions to social and economic challenges, the HeroX incentive prize platform connects funding companies and individuals with problem solvers. Twitter: @Iamherox Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IamHeroX

ASCE’s Comments Regarding House Passage of Six-Year Highway & Transit Bill

On November 5, 2014, newly-minted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) shepherded through his first piece of major legislation with bipartisan passage of a six-year, $325 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill.  The Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform (STRR) Act of 2015 cleared the House by a vote of 363-64.  A last-minute amendment was added to STRR that secured an additional $40 billion in revenue from an unused Federal Reserve account.  This means that while the House bill is now funded for a full six-years, it does not increase highway and transit funding levels over the current amount.

ASCE endorsed multiple amendments that were offered to raise the gas tax. However none of those amendments were allowed to receive a full vote on the House floor.

Following the bill’s passage, ASCE President Mark W. Woodson, P.E., F.ASCE, released a statement saying, “While the House-passed bill provides six years of stability for the nation’s road, bridge, and transit programs, it fails to increase funding to levels that are adequate to properly maintain our infrastructure.” Woodson went on to state that, “ASCE is disappointed that House leadership prevented a vote on raising the federal gas tax – a policy solution that would have provided long-term funding and certainty that states desperately need to move forward with their transportation projects.“

ASCE also weighed-in against a resolution introduced by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in support of devolving the federal transportation program to the states. The amendment was defeated 118-310. See how your Representative voted!

Some highlights of the House bill include:

  • Multi-year program certainty that will help states and localities better plan and deliver projects;
  • Accelerated project delivery reforms aimed to improve collaboration between agencies and create deadlines for agency action(s);
  • Providing grants to states for continued and expanded pilot testing of future road user fee collection systems;
  • A new competitive grant to address bus and bus facility needs;
  • Increased focus on funding for roadway safety infrastructure and on the safety needs of rural roads; and,
  • An option for localities to bundle small projects such as bridges to increase efficiency.

The House vote follows previous Senate action in July on their surface transportation bill which provided only three years of funding although at much higher levels.  Now the House and Senate will work to negotiate a compromise before the looming November 20 deadline.  ASCE will be reviewing the House and Senate bills to determine which provisions we favor to be included in any final agreement.  On funding, ASCE urges a final bill be multi-year with sizable funding increases for highway and transit programs.  In the coming weeks, ASCE will continue to engage with our members in our advocacy effort to #FixTheTrustFund. Thank you for all you have done to support the Society’s advocacy efforts!

Two-Thirds of the Economic Benefits and Jobs Created By Road & Transit Investment Occur in Non-Construction Sectors, New Study Finds

Two-thirds of the economic benefits and jobs created by federal highway and transit investment occur in non-construction sectors, according to a new analysis from IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), a leading global source of critical information and insight. The study also finds that every dollar invested through the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) in state highway, bridge and public transit infrastructure programs returns 74 cents in tax revenue.

The report, “Transportation Infrastructure Investment: Macroeconomic and Industry Contribution of Federal Highway and Mass Transit Program,” reveals that 70 percent of the economic benefits, or value- added, of federal HTF investments in transportation improvements occur in non-construction sectors of the economy. Among the sectors that benefit the most are service industries such as business, education, health and leisure, and hospitality.

The study also finds that 62 percent of the jobs created from federal highway and mass transit investments are outside the construction industry. Over one-third of all jobs created are also in service industries like business, education, health and leisure, and hospitality.

“The study shows that investment in transportation infrastructure has a positive impact on every major sector of the U.S. economy. These far reaching economic benefits contribute to economic growth by improving the nation’s capital stock, which enables increased economic activity,” said Karen Campbell, a senior consultant at IHS, who produced the report with Bob Brodesky, a transportation expert and senior manager in the IHS Industry Consulting Group.

Current federal highway and public transit investment, which is about $50 billion annually, generates an average $31 billion in personal income tax receipts per year and $6 billion in federal corporate tax receipts per year due to increased economic activity, according to the analysis. This amounts to 74 cents returned on every dollar invested 

IHS notes that current levels of federal investment on highway and public transit spending contribute nearly one percent to the U.S Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the measure of goods and services produced by the economy. Among the other economic benefits:

  • Every $1 in federal highway and mass transit investment increases the nation’s GDP between $1.80-$2.00
  • Current federal transportation spending contributes on average $410 to real income per household each year

IHS also studied the resulting impacts from five percent annual increases in federal highway and transit investment from 2014-2019, and found the added investment would create:

  • Between 78,000 and 122,000 new jobs by 2019 (includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs);
  • An annual average increase of $40 in real household income each year;
  • An additional $9.6 billion in real GDP for the U.S. economy by 2019; and
  • On average an additional $4.9 billion per year in federal, state and local government

“Federal transportation spending expands the capital stock of the U.S. economy, drives the production and delivery of goods and services, and positively affects business and household incomes,” the study’s authors write. “It also enhances the transportation system’s operational capacity by reducing travel times and costs. This results in greater accessibility for individuals, households and businesses, more efficient delivery of goods and services, improved lifestyles, and standards of living, and safer roadways.”

The members of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), which commissioned the study, said they would send it to all congressional offices to help them better understand the urgency for a permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund well before May 2015, when funding for the highway and transit program will once again be in jeopardy for the sixth time since 2008. The TCC is issuing this report ahead of the upcoming congressional recess, when many coalition members will be meeting with their elected officials at home. 

Select Comments & Reactions to the Dec. 10 IHS Study:

Transportation Infrastructure Investment: Macroeconomic and Industry Contribution of Federal Highway and Mass Transit Projects

“The TCC study is a wake-up call to lawmakers who have had their heads in the sand on this issue for far too long. The evidence is clear; the condition of our roads, bridges and transit systems significantly impacts every sector of our economy. We call on Congress to summon the political courage necessary to strengthen the Highway Trust Fund in a way that delivers long-term certainty to transportation planning and opens on ramps to job creation in this country.

Tens of thousands of Operating Engineers depend on these investments for their livelihoods. It is time for Congress to do its work, so that we can do our work building America’s transportation system.”

James T. Callahan, general president, International Union of Operating Engineers

“Our nation’s surface transportation network is in distress, and this study confirms that fact. Chronic underinvestment plagues every mode of transportation and is having a detrimental impact on our ability to compete globally. Congress must get to work and enact a robustly-funded, long-term surface transportation bill – and base the funding on a user-fee principle indexed for inflation. This may be the best way to resolve once and for all the devastating economic impacts that inadequate funding has had on our economy, jobs and the safety of our roads and bridges.”

Thomas J. Gibson, president & CEO, American Iron and Steel Institute

“This report echoes what civil engineers have been warning for years: if we fail to make the investment in our aging transportation infrastructure, our economy will suffer. Our transportation system is the backbone of the economy, and it drives growth in sectors beyond construction. Roads and transit received D grades and bridges received a C+ in the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. The low grades are holding our economy back. This report should serve as further incentive for our Congressional leaders to fix the Trust Fund.”

Robert D. Stevens, P.E., Ph.D., president, American Society of Civil Engineers

“The new study echoes what Congress, stakeholders and the American people already know—surface transportation investment drives economic growth and job creation. The time is long overdue for policymakers to put aside partisan differences and provide the resources to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Congress must use the TCC study, as well as the countless other reports detailing highway and transit infrastructure investment’s broad economic impact, to build support for immediate and decisive action to invest in surface transportation projects.”

Brian P. McGuire, president & CEO, Associated Equipment Distributors

“A strong transportation network benefits every sector of our economy, and is essential to the prosperity of businesses and households. NECA urges members of Congress to heed the findings of this report, and to make a sound investment in our nation by enacting a robust, long-term transportation bill.”

John Grau, chief executive officer, National Electrical Contractors Association

“This report demonstrates how the benefits from investments in transportation infrastructure extend well beyond the equipment manufacturing sector. For many Americans, this is a pocketbook issue; today’s report shows that federal highway and transit investment supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes $410 per year on average to every household’s real income. That’s why AEM is so proud to join with the TCC coalition to support continued, sustainable investment in our highway and transit infrastructure to help create shared opportunity.”

Dennis Slater, president, Association of Equipment Manufacturers 

“The importance of a long-term, robust and dedicated funding stream not only will keep our economy growing, but will provide the needed transportation infrastructure for businesses to be competitive and for American citizens the quality of roads and bridges they deserve. The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute firmly believes in the federal government’s role in planning and delivering transportation services and projects for a 21st transportation system. CRSI supports the passage of a comprehensive, visionary, multi-year reauthorization of surface transportation programs to improve our bridges and pavements, increase mobility and reliability, safety and sustainability.

Bob Risser, president & CEO, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute

“While there is strong bipartisan support for the crucial infrastructure upgrades, stopgap measures are not a cost- effective way to improve our most valuable national assets – our roads, highways and bridges. Our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure underpins the economy is essential to growth and prosperity. Congress must come up with a long-term funding solution as states and localities are hesitant to start new projects or finish existing ones out of fear that the federal government won’t meet its funding obligations.”

Mike Johnson, president & CEO, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association

“What this report makes clear is that our entire economy benefits from federal investments in highway and transit projects. But that economic activity and those jobs are at risk if Congress and the Obama administration can’t figure out a way to pay to get our roads, bridges and transit systems back up to a state of good repair and to meet future travel and shipping needs.”

Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer, Associated General Contractors of America & co-chair of the Transportation Construction Coalition

“What makes this study different is that it focuses on the outcomes of federal-level highway and transit investment and measures its significant impact on every sector of the U.S. economy. This is one policy area where Congress’ involvement could actually yield meaningful and long-lasting economic results for hundreds of industries and millions of households. Our message for the new Congress is simple: Find a permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund early next year so that state governments have the resources they need to make strategic and economically-beneficial transportation investments.”

Pete Ruane, president & CEO, American Road & Transportation Builders Association & co-chair of the Transportation Construction Coalition

“Good infrastructure is exceedingly important to manufacturers and as the condition of infrastructure has deteriorated over time and spending levels have dipped – awareness has increased among manufacturers and concern over the quality and condition of infrastructure is mounting. Infrastructure is deteriorating due to age and we are not keeping up with the demands placed on the system. Status quo funding levels will not even begin to tackle the problems and address backlogs. The TCC study offers yet another well-researched body of evidence that current approaches are not enough to grow our economy at home and go head-to-head with our competitors abroad.”

Chad Moutray, chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers

 For a copy of the IHS report, Transportation Infrastructure Investment: Macroeconomic and Industry Contribution of Federal Highway and Mass Transit Program, go to www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org.


Federal transportation spending expands the capital stock of the US economy, drives the production and delivery of goods and services, and positively affects business and household incomes. It also enhances the transportation system’s operational capacity by reducing travel times and costs. This results in greater accessibility for individuals, households and businesses, more efficient delivery of goods and services, improved life styles and standards of living, and safer roadways.

IHS used two models to evaluate the macro and micro economic effects of Highway Trust Fund spending. Both showed the availability of funds delivered to state and local governments have far-reaching indirect effects – for every $1 of federal transportation investment returns between $1.80 – $2.00 of additional real goods and services produced in the economy.

Macroeconomic results revealed that current levels of federal spending on highway and mass transit contributes nearly 1% to the US production of goods and services. The current level of funding contributes on average 614,000 jobs per year over the 2014-2019 time period and adds an average of $410 to each US household’s real income each year. A 5% increase in annual spending through 2019 would result in an average of 59,400 additional jobs per year and an annual average increase of $40 in real household income. Federal spending also produces indirect benefits and induces growth in key economic sectors. The sector that experiences the largest benefit, in terms of jobs created, is the Business and Professional Services sector. The Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector, which includes wholesale and retail companies, is a close second.

In summary, over the 2014 to 2019 time frame:

 Infrastructure spending has an amplified impact on the economy. It leads to overall productivity enhancements and creates jobs.

 Every $1 in federal highway and mass transit investment returns between $1.80 – $2.00 in goods and services produced.

 Current federal transportation spending contributes on average $410 to real income per households each year (which is comparable to a month’s worth of groceries).1

 Current federal transportation spending supports an average of 614,000 employees each year in all sectors of the economy. It catalyzes dynamic effects of greater productivity, more efficient delivery of goods and services, and higher wages and salaries.

 For every 3 construction job created, 5 jobs are created in other sectors of the economy.

 Current federal transportation spending generates $31 billion in federal personal tax receipts per year and $6 billion in federal corporate tax receipts per year on average. Current federal spending also generates higher revenue for state and local budgets, which are, on average, $21.7 billion higher each year than they would be without the Federal Highway Program.

 Five percent annual increases in federal spending would create:

o Between 78,000 and 122,000 new jobs by 2019 (includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs).

o An additional $40 in real household income each year.

o An additional $9.6 billion in real value to the US economy by 2019.

o On average an additional $4.9 billion per year in federal, state and local government revenue, which covers more than 50% of the annual spending needed to cover the backlog in highway and bridge capital expenditures.2

Clearly, transportation infrastructure investment is critical to the economic wellbeing of the US.

For a copy of the IHS report, Transportation Infrastructure Investment: Macroeconomic and Industry Contribution of Federal Highway and Mass Transit Program, go to www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org

ASCE Reports: States Hit the Brakes on Road Projects As Federal Fund Goes Broke

{08d819bc-1d22-4dd2-80f4-4bea43d54eb4}_ASCE_GovernmentRelations_WashingtonInstead of shifting into high gear during what is normally the peak of construction season, state transportation departments around the country are easing off the gas pedal as the federal Highway Trust Fund barrels toward insolvency sometime next month.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the highway account of the Highway Trust Fund, which allocated $37 billion to the states for highway projects in the fiscal year that ends September 30, will run out of money in August unless Congress can come up with a solution before then. (The mass transit account of the fund is in slightly better shape, but not by much.) The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) put together state fact sheets for at least 26 states listing projects that are in jeopardy without federal funding. See if your state is on the list.

Read More: Stateline 7/2/2014

ASCE Reports: USDOT Announces Plans to Change Payment Schedule to States Starting August 1

{08d819bc-1d22-4dd2-80f4-4bea43d54eb4}_ASCE_GovernmentRelations_WashingtonOn Tuesday,July 1, 2014,  President Obama addressed a group of transportation advocates, including ASCE’s President Randy Over, P.E., F.ASCE, near Key Bridge in Washington, D.C. where he urged Congress to act to prevent insolvency of the federal highway program.  “I haven’t heard a good reason for why they (Congress) haven’t acted,” Obama said.  “It’s not like they’re busy with other stuff,” the president said in reference to the fact that the 113th Congress has passed fewer bills than any other in modern history.  Next week, the House and Senate are scheduled to convene while tax committee leaders negotiate on a bipartisan solution to ensure highway funding for the remainder of the calendar year.

That same day, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that beginning August 1, due to a lack of revenue in the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), reimbursements to states will be provided every two weeks instead of the current twice daily schedule.  The USDOT announcement was made as the HTF nears insolvency.  When the fund’s reserves dip below $4 billion, as is expected on August 1, the department will alter its cash management in a way that they view as most prudent and equitable for the states.  “There is no good option when we’re talking about a trust fund that is running out of dollars,” Foxx told reporters Tuesday morning.  USDOT cites that on average states will see a 28 percent drop in federal transportation dollars due to delayed payments.  This piecemeal approach to reimbursements may put many current projects on hold, slow down the advertisement of new projects, or even cancel proposed projects.

The President and Administration officials have pledged to continue trying to help Congress identify a funding solution that can be signed into law by the August 1 deadline which is also when Congress adjourns for five weeks.  The Society has been urging Congress for months to identify a long-term, sustainable solution to fund the nation’s surface transportation program and avoid a summer program catastrophe.  The Society urges all members to tell their lawmakers to move quickly on a solution. Visit fixthetrustfund.org to learn more about how you can get involved