Investing in our nation’s infrastructure has the potential to go beyond creating jobs and repairing bridges, tunnels and roads. It can set us on a trajectory for a more sustainable way of life if we start to refashion how we think about public works. Maximizing taxpayer return on these critical investments demands a next generation of infrastructure that is capable of multitasking—working in harmony with, not against, natural systems. This approach should be embedded in communities, offering social, cultural and technical values that can wean us from our petroleum dependence and help us deal with climate changes.
Implementing such multipurpose, integrated projects demands new ways of working, including effective regional planning, transformational leadership and unprecedented interagency and cross-sector collaboration. The industry also must change by developing new design and construction management skills.