Sustainable solutions for U.S. aging infrastructure outlined in new report

The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure has released a new report in an effort to help industry leaders, academics and the public rethink how communities are planned and the types of investment needed to manage, operate and rehabilitate infrastructure systems throughout America.

DENVER, CO, Nov. 24, 2014 -- The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., recently released a new report in an effort to help industry leaders, academics and the public rethink how communities are planned and the types of investment needed to manage, operate and rehabilitate infrastructure systems throughout America.

The report, titled "Infrastructure Crisis, Sustainable Solutions: Rethinking Our Infrastructure Investment Strategies," has wide application to urban planning -- particularly the water, power and transportation industries -- and includes interviews from 70 of the Pacific Northwest's key infrastructure innovators and thought leaders representing a variety of sectors.

According to the report's findings, 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 nation, 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. 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," said Liz Kelly, CH2M HILL VP and senior consultant, who contributed to the report. "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," said Rhys Roth, director of the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure. "If we do it right, our infrastructure investments will help us to both strengthen our communities and overcome our most pressing environmental challenges."

See also:

"Report Explores Impact of Water, Wastewater Investment on U.S. Economy"

"Analysis shows billions predicted to be spent for U.S. water infrastructure upgrades"


About the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure

The Evergreen State College launched the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (CSI) in 2013, with the goal of developing innovative solutions for massive public works challenges. CSI focuses on advancing a new sustainable infrastructure paradigm and practice in the Northwest and beyond. CH2M HILL is a proud co-sponsor and contributor of the "Infrastructure Crisis" report. For more information, click here.

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