“Making The Grade” Group of 45 Corporations, Think Tanks, Academic Institutions and Others Call for Six-Point Plan to Rebuild US Infrastructure and Revive the Country’s Competitiveness
Today at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., a new report was released that outlines innovative new ways that the federal government, industry and other stakeholders can work together to solve the crisis of the failing state of U.S. infrastructure. Entitled "Making The Grade,” the report is the result of experts from 45 different organizations, including corporations, professional organizations, think tanks, financial advisors and academic institutions. It offers a six-point plan with fresh ideas to regain America's infrastructure leadership and revive the country’s global competitiveness.
The report's name is intended as a rallying cry in response to last year's quadrennial report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which gave America's overall infrastructure a D+ grade.
The ASCE estimates that US$3.6 trillion must be invested by 2020 to make critically needed upgrades and expansions of national infrastructure — and avoid trillions of dollars in lost business sales, exports, disposable income and GDP.
While much has been written and discussed about the problem, Making the Grade provides substantive recommendations and workable solutions to help meet today’s and tomorrow’s infrastructure needs.
The report's six-point recommendations include: 1) Making infrastructure a cabinet-level priority; 2) Forming U.S. infrastructure regions; 3) Establishing a national infrastructure bank; 4) Selling "opportunity" bonds; 5) Creating a national infrastructure index and 6) Engaging the American people to build support for the importance of infrastructure policy.
Collectively, these recommendations apply modern tools, technologies, approaches and fresh thinking to offer a new vision and path forward for the way U.S. infrastructure should be planned, financed, designed and built.
For the full report, please visit: http://autode.sk/MakingTheGrade
Today's event and publication of the Making the Grade report is just the beginning. The 45 organizations involved are dedicated to driving the policy recommendations forward through continued public advocacy, wider industry dialogue and engagement with lawmakers over the coming months and years.
Commentary from Making The Grade Supporters
"Rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be our top economic priority: it’s essential to our national competitiveness, will help our businesses grow, and will create millions of much-needed middle class jobs. We absolutely cannot lose our global edge on infrastructure and the current trends are not headed in the right direction. As the Making the Grade report – composed by experts – makes clear, there are serious economic costs associated with our infrastructure gridlock. This is a domestic emergency.
The good news is that there is strong bipartisan support for funding and financing infrastructure investment, provided we do it in a fiscally-responsible way. My bill, the Partnership to Build America Act, marries long-term goals from both parties: expanded infrastructure investment, tax reform, and more public-private partnerships. I’m proud to have my legislation highlighted in the report and I thank CG/LA and the other partners for raising awareness on this most vital issue.” — John Delaney, U.S. Congressman, 6th District (D-Maryland)
"Rarely have I read a document in which the words more powerfully complement the purpose – this is a true blueprint for the work that will lead our country forward, creating real value now and for the next generation – by 'regaining' and 'sustaining' public infrastructure leadership." — Norman Anderson, President and CEO, CG/LA Infrastructure
"Our infrastructure has fallen behind the rest of the world, threatening our economic vitality and even becoming a danger to our citizens. We can't rely on the same-old way of doing things. We need to bring a renewed spirit of innovation and purpose to this challenge. We believe the Making The Grade report provides the right framework, fresh ideas and infusion of energy needed to jumpstart this discussion and create action as a unified industry. We look forward to working closely between the private and public sector to start implementing our recommendations with all due haste." — Terry D. Bennett, LS LPFMRICS ENV SP LEED®AP, senior industry strategist for infrastructure, Autodesk
“We not only must do better at building what we need, we need to do better in deciding what we need. The Making the Grade Report shows us a way forward in doing just that. This is not and cannot be just about us, about this generation and our needs. It must be about future generations and their options as well.” — Bill Bertera, Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
“We can’t solve today’s challenges, let alone tomorrow’s, with yesterday’s thinking. It’s well documented that our critical human infrastructure receives failing grades today and needs attention. Through a combination of new and integrated project delivery models and technical and financing innovation we have the ability to address the significant challenges we face. It will take true collaboration among government, industry, the private sector and the public, but investments in infrastructure will lead to strong returns. This work has been started with the Making the Grade report, and it must continue.” — Ralph Eberts, Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Water Americas, Black &Veatch
"The Making the Grade Report represents the forward looking thinking of nearly 50 companies and organizations. The six-point plan to support rebuilding America's infrastructure provides the necessary direction forward, showing the country how we can dramatically increase our investment through the kind of private and public initiatives that benefit all stakeholders." Andres Gluski, President and CEO, AES Corporation
Innovation in infrastructure requires long term effort and attention to the capabilities that must be developed among a coalition of stakeholders to achieve that goal. US infrastructure in particular is a "wicked problem" – complex and open-ended – that requires a guiding framework and a high level of collaboration and originality for its resolution.” –– John Kao, fmr Harvard Business School Professor and Chairman, Institute for Large Scale Innovation
“21st century success depends on 21st century infrastructure. Making the Grade outlines a thoughtful, balanced and timely program for addressing this critical need.” –– Dr. James A. Moore, SVP/Director National Community Planning & Urban Design, HDR
“Infrastructure systems are the backbone of our economy and a critical part of our daily lives. While it’s tempting to assume that we should just address the largest funding gap first, it’s important to remember that all of our infrastructure is linked and each sector has a significant role to play. We need leadership from federal, state and local levels of government who will communicate the urgency of revitalizing our nation’s infrastructure, craft innovative solutions and make the investments the system needs so that the United States is competitive on a global level. Industry efforts like the Making the Grade Symposium and its report help head us in this direction.” — Patrick Natale, P.E., F.ASCE, FASAE, CAE, Exec Director of American Society of Civil Engineers
Digital city-scale models like this one of Seattle can expedite infrastructure design and approvals, as well as improving construction safety and accuracy. Image courtesy of Parsons Brinckerhoff.