Tag Archive for 'ASCE'

CASE Announces Fourth-Annual Dire States Equipment Grant

Grant provides $25,000 in free equipment use to one winning community to repair and/or build local infrastructure or other critical systems. 
CASE Construction Equipment has issued the call for entries for the 2019 Dire States Equipment Grant. Submissions can be made at DireStates.com/Grant. The 2019 entry deadline is March 31, 2019, and the winner will be announced in April 2019.
Originally launched in 2016, the Dire States Grant provides one winning community with $25,000 in free equipment use to help offset the costs of building or repairing a critical piece of local infrastructure. Representatives of municipal, county and other local governments are eligible to apply. Entrants will be asked to describe the project and provide a detailed assessment of how that local piece of infrastructure will benefit the community.
Examples of suitable infrastructure projects include: road/bridge repair or construction, utility pipe replacement, erosion control along lakes and rivers, wastewater system improvements, school projects and park/recreational construction. All projects that fall within the 16 core categories of infrastructure, as identified by ASCE in its Infrastructure Report Card, will be considered.
The 2018 winner was Surrey, North Dakota. The community used the grant to significantly transform the city’s rainwater runoff and roadway drainage.
“We wouldn’t have been able to complete this amount of work in 100 years – and this has saved Surrey more than $100,000 in work that otherwise wouldn’t have been done,” said Keith Hegney, public works director, Surrey, North Dakota.
“Surrey represents the ideal Dire States entrant  — a community that was able to show the compounding benefit of infrastructure improvements on other elements of the city’s systems and future growth,” says Michel Marchand, vice president — North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “Entries for this grant have increased exponentially each year, which highlights the continued need for a greater focus on local infrastructure funding and development.”
“While Federal funding is critical to long-term sustainability of the nation’s infrastructure, it’s the network of local projects that most directly impact our daily lives,” says Athena Campos, senior director of marketing, CASE Construction Equipment. “At CASE, we’re working together with our dealers and customers to make a difference in building those local communities.”
All local governments in the United States are eligible to apply. A full list of rules and submission criteria are available at DireStates.com/Grant. For more information on Dire States, visit DireStates.com. For more information on CASE, visit CaseCE.com.

Standard ASCE 7-16 Is Published

Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures, Standards ASCE/SEI 7-16, provides the most up-to-date and coordinated loading standard for general structural design.

This new edition of ASCE 7, which supersedes ASCE/SEI 7-10, describes the means for determining design loads including dead, live, soil, flood, tsunami, snow, rain, atmospheric ice, earthquake, wind, and fire, as well as how to assess load combinations.

Significant changes in ASCE 7-16 include the following:

  • new seismic maps reflecting the updated National Seismic Hazard Maps;
  • new wind speed maps, including new Hawaii maps, that result in reduced wind speeds for much of the United States, clarified special wind study zones, and separate Risk Category IV from Category III;
  • new snow load maps incorporating regional snow data for areas that previously required site-specific case study zones;
  • updated rain duration provisions that align design requirements with International Plumbing Code provisions for drainage;
  • entirely new chapter covering tsunami design provisions, which are important to Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington; and
  • new appendix provisions for fire design.

Standard provisions are accompanied by a detailed commentary with explanatory and supplementary information developed to assist users of the standard, including design practitioners, building code committees, and regulatory authorities.  Structural engineers, architects, and those engaged in preparing and administering local building codes will find the structural load requirements essential to their practice.

About the American Society of Civil Engineers

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 145,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s mission is to provide essential value to our members and partners, advance civil engineering, and serve the public good.

To purchase online visit the ASCE Bookstore.

www.asce.org/pubs / www.ascelibrary.org

Quick Start Guide, an overview of the ASCE Library

ASCE Reports America’s Infrastructure as D+

President Trump Announces “Massive Permit Reform” Push

Capping off his Administration’s ‘Infrastructure Week,’ President Trump held an event this morning on permitting reform at the U.S. Department of Transportation. President Trump, joined by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, met with heads of state departments of transportation and then addressed a group of transportation officials and stakeholders. President Trump reiterated his commitment to fixing the nation’s infrastructure and named the existing infrastructure project approval process as a major impediment to that goal, saying “one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately-needed infrastructure…is the painfully slow, costly and time-consuming process for getting permits and approvals to build.”

President Trump is not alone in this view. Secretary Chao has repeatedly said over the last several months that “money is not the problem” when it comes to improving the nation’s infrastructure and instead cutting red tape to speed up the approvals process is the most important thing for restoring the nation’s infrastructure systems. Last month the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the topic, where Chairman John Barrasso (R-MT) called for simplifying the government review process and making it more flexible to meet the different natures of rural and urban states. However, Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) pushed back on the Secreatary Chao’s comments, declaring lack of funding the biggest impediment to infrastructure improvements and calling for the full implementation of changes to permitting laws passed in recent legislation before Congress takes further action.

Almost everyone agrees the federal infrastructure approval process is a long way from perfect, but there are strongly contrasting ideas about how to improve it. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires federal agencies to consider the environmental effects of an action and to involve the public in their decision-making process. The law is a frequent target of criticism from some sectors because it can add years to a project.

Congress has tried to fix the pain points in several recent pieces of legislation. The FAST Act included new procedural requirements aimed at ensuring early collaboration and efficient environmental reviews for complex infrastructure projects including: the use of a single NEPA document as much as possible with one agency serving as lead and ensuring the review meets the needs of the other agencies; requiring a schedule to be a part of a project coordination plan; and creating a publicly accessible dashboard to publish the status of NEPA and permitting for all projects requiring an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment. MAP-21 and the Water Resources Development Act also included permitting reforms, but these reforms have not been fully implemented yet.

A Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General report from March found that the streamlining provisions in the FAST Act have possibly delayed the improvements expected from the streamlining measures in MAP-21. This should give Congress pause as they contemplate more permitting reform, as the already approved reforms have not had the opportunity to be tested yet.

ASCE has called for mandating concurrent reviews by agencies; a single administrative permitting agency to shorten and improve the approval process and improve inter-agency collaboration; and time limits for decisions on infrastructure projects. To some extent these reforms have all been included in recent legislation (particularly the FAST Act), but their effect is not yet clear.

Today President Trump announced the creation of a new council to help project managers navigate the permitting process including the creation of a new online dashboard. He also announced the creation of a new office within the White House Council of Environmental Quality “to root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal, state and local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in the way.”

While it is obviously too early to know the effect of the Administration’s new efforts to streamline the permitting process, it’s assertion that regulations, not funding, are the real problem in infrastructure ignores the true infrastructure challenges we face. A 2012 Congressional Research Service report questioned the degree to which the NEPA compliance process is a significant source of delay, noting “causes of delay that have been identified are more often tied to local/state and project-specific factors, primarily local/state agency priorities, project funding levels, local opposition to a project, project complexity, or late changes in project scope.” A 2016 report prepared for the U.S. Treasury on proposed major infrastructure projects stated, “A review of the 40 transportation and water infrastructure projects…suggests that they face four major challenges to completion: (a) limited public resources, (b) significantly increased capital costs, (c) extended program and project review and permitting processes, and (d) lack of consensus among multiple public and private sector entities. A lack of public funding is by far the most common factor hindering the completion of transportation and water infrastructure projects.”

ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded the nation’s infrastructure a D+ and estimates that $4.59 trillion in infrastructure investment will be necessary from federal, state, local, and private sources between 2016 and 2025 to reach a state of good repair and earn a grade of B. However, only just $2.5 trillion is likely to be invested, leaving a $2.0 trillion funding gap. The investment gap led ASCE to make the first key solution of the Report Card increased investment; no amount of streamlining and expediting alone will close the infrastructure investment gap and solve our infrastructure challenges. The Report Card also recommends streamlining the permitting and approval process, but the goals of such changes should to be provide greater clarity to regulatory requirements, bring priority projects to reality more quickly, and secure cost savings. Attempts to shorten the permitting and approval process should not come at the expense of public health, public safety, and the environment.

While we should continue to strive for an efficient and effective federal approval process, addressing the nation’s infrastructure needs requires investing real money in our communities.

http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/tag/infrastructure/

CASE Extends Dire States Equipment Grant Submission Deadline to May 18

CASE Extends Dire States Equipment Grant Submission Deadline to May 18

Heavy equipment OEM will provide $25,000 in free equipment use to one community to repair and/or build local infrastructure.

CASE Construction Equipment has extended the submission deadline for the Dire States Equipment Grant – first announced at CONEXPO/CON-AGG 2017 – to May 18, 2017. The grant will provide one winning community with $25,000 in free equipment use to help offset the costs of building or repairing a critical piece of local infrastructure. Representatives of municipal, county and other local governments are eligible to apply for the grant. Entrants will be asked to describe the project and provide a detailed assessment of how that local piece of infrastructure will benefit the community.

Entries can be submitted at DireStates.com/Grant. The first Dire States grant, awarded in 2016, went to the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Examples of suitable infrastructure projects include: road/bridge repair or construction, utility pipe replacement, erosion control along lakes and rivers, wastewater system improvements and park/recreational construction. All projects that fall within the 16 core categories of infrastructure, as identified by ASCE in its Infrastructure Report Card, will be considered.

For more information on Dire States, visit DireStates.com. For more information on CASE, visit CaseCE.com.

ASCE Takes Report Card Grades and Solutions to Lieutenant Governors

How bad is our infrastructure? Probably worse than you ever imagined. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has prepared an Infrastructure Report Card that details the problems the country faces with updating, restoring, improving and making our infrastructure safe with a state-by-state overview. (See link below) The association has been doing an infrastructure report card for some time and has provided the country with a realistic and serious look at the things we all take for granted,  our roads and bridges topping the list. Take the time to review the condition of your state’s infrastructure so that you can support efforts made to improve it.
ASCE participated last week in the National Lt. Governors Association annual State-Federal Relations meeting in Washington, DC. The seconds-in-command of the states and territories gathered in Washington D.C. March 15, 2017, to work on schools, roads, and more. Casey Dinges was on the agenda to talk to the Lt. Governors about the solutions offered in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. The meeting also focused on ideas on how to streamline state regulations, preserve international markets for agriculture, and assist veterans with health issues.

2017 Infrastructure Report Card