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Presidents Message - Moving Forward with Infrastructure

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Andrew Cairns, P.E., D.PE, PMP, M.ASCE

These days, infrastructure is a popular topic. Infrastructure is critical to the nation's economic strength and growth. ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure has done an excellent job of bringing awareness of our failing infrastructure to the public.

ASCE's Infrastructure Policy Reports , including the Failure to Act Report series, provide compelling economic context to the country's failing infrastructure.

As a member of ASCE, I am encouraged to see the efforts we are making towards improving our infrastructure. Identifying needs and promoting awareness on Capital Hill have been effective at increasing awareness of the challenges that lie ahead.

However, the biggest challenge is funding the much needed infrastructure projects, including waterway and port projects around the country.

Infrastructure Funding for Ports and Waterways

COPRI has been active in addressing the issue of project funding on a number of fronts. COPRI members have testified in front of the Senate regarding appropriate use of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and passing of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA). WRRDA provides increased funding for our nations waterways and aligns the proper allocation of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

Following the passing of WRRDA, the COPRI P3 for Waterways Infrastructure Subcommittee was formed under the Waterways Committee to evaluate Public Private Partnership (P3) authorization under the WRRDA. 

Although not a new concept in funding transportation projects, its application for waterway projects is new. The P3 Committee is doing an excellent job of engaging stakeholders. Earlier this month they conducted a workshop in New Orleans, and plan to conduct additional workshops throughout the US to advocate, educate and facilitate the development of P3 waterway concepts. 

COPRI will continue to look at ways in which we can support ASCE's infrastructure initiatives. I encourage you to become an ASCE Key Contact and engage your local elected officials and support programs that help fund our waterway and harbor projects.

Closing Remarks

As this is my last President's message, I want to thank all of the active members on COPRI committees, professional chapters, and student chapters for the hard work and support you have provided this year. Your dedication to the engineering community is vital to success of COPRI.

I would also like to thank our Past-President, Jane Smith, and our incoming President, Tom Wakeman for their efforts throughout the year and the sound guidance they always provide. I would like to thank Ron Riggs, the editor of our Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering , who has done an excellent job upholding the quality of that journal.

And of course, I give my deep gratitude to Tom Chase, the Director of COPRI, and Angie Lander, manager of COPRI, and all the ASCE staff. They do an outstanding job and without their dedication to the Institute's success, we would not be able to accomplish the things we do. Thank you.