Mr. Brown and I agree on one thing -- our infrastructure is crumbling and we must act.
Some facts that "mean something":
* Many parts of our infrastructure are older than our grandparents.
* The threat of bridge collapse will rise as bridges age.
* Bridges will continue to close -- affecting your drive, your child's bus ride and the response time of your fire department.
* Time stuck in traffic and money spent on car damage due to deteriorating roads cost motorists an average of $300 per year.
* Safety concerns on our roadways grow as vehicle volume increases.
* The estimated additional cost to repair the state's roads and bridges is $3.5 billion annually, and cutting wasteful spending will not solve this problem.
We civil engineers are doing what we can with what we have, in terms of both the aged infrastructure and the funding available. It is not negligence by civil engineers that has led to our crumbling infrastructure; rather, civil engineers possess the skill and knowledge to fix our infrastructure and ensure our way of life, but we need the public's support.
Lest we forget about the rest of our infrastructure, since the report card release, six major water main breaks have occurred in the Pittsburgh region.
Any hope of improvement requires that infrastructure discussions become part of our everyday conversation, leading to better and safer communities. The opinions expressed by Mr. Brown, while critical of ASCE, are a discussion that must persist.
We welcome the continued dialogue about how to attack the issue of our crumbling infrastructure. In the meantime, take it from the professionals -- our aged infrastructure is at a critical stage, threatening our way of life. We, the people of Pennsylvania, must act.
ASCE Pittsburgh Section