Timing is everything. With the nation buzzing about the economic stimulus package—considered extremely likely to include billions of dollars for infrastructure—the American Society of Civil Engineers brought 80-plus experts together for a critical infrastructure summit. The meeting was part of ASCE’s long-range planning effort, but attendees found themselves discussing the next few months as well as the decades to come.
Blaine Leonard, ASCE president-elect and research program manager of Utah Dept. of Transportation, told attendees at the Dec. 8-10, Landsdowne, Va., session that their mission was to begin to identify how organizations that work with multifunded, multijurisdictional, long-term construction and sustainment projects can successfully accomplish their tasks. The group was presented with four guiding principles, identified by a task committee, to ensure the nation’s critical infrastructure systems are “resilient and sustainable throughout their life cycle” and to manage the risks to them. ASCE defines “critical infrastructure” as systems and facilities so vital that disruption would threaten the security, economy, health, safety or welfare of the public.