Smart investment will only be possible with leadership, planning, and a clear vision for our nation’s infrastructure. Leaders from all levels of government, business, labor, and nonprofit organizations must come together to ensure all investments are spent wisely, prioritizing projects with critical benefits to the economy, public safety, and quality of life, while also planning for the costs of building, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure for its entire lifespan. To do so, we must:
- Require all projects greater than $5 million that receive federal funding use life cycle cost analysis and develop a plan for funding the project, including its maintenance and operation, until the end of its service life.
- Create incentives for state and local governments and the private sector to invest in maintenance, and to improve the efficiency and performance of existing infrastructure.
- Develop tools to ensure that projects most in need of investment and maintenance are prioritized, to leverage limited funding wisely.
- Streamline the project permitting process across infrastructure sectors, with safeguards to protect the natural environment, to provide greater clarity to regulatory requirements, bring priority projects to reality more quickly, and secure cost savings.
- Identify a pipeline of infrastructure projects attractive to private sector investment and public-private partnership.
ASCE recognizes civil engineers’ unique leadership role in addressing our infrastructure challenges. ASCE issued its “Grand Challenge,” a call to action for the entire civil engineering profession to increase the value and capacity of infrastructure and increase and optimize infrastructure investments by transforming the way we plan, deliver, operate, and maintain our nation’s infrastructure. Central to the Grand Challenge is a commitment to rethinking what’s possible through life cycle cost assessments, innovation, performance-based standards, and enhanced resiliency, with the goal of reducing the life cycle cost of infrastructure by 50 percent by 2025.