APWA President Kalynchuk speaks on the status of America's declining infrastructure


On September 4, President Dwayne Kalynchuk, P.Eng., participated in the American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) 2003 Progress Report on America's infrastructure, an update to their 2001 "Report Card." Kalynchuk made comments from the podium at the event on Capitol Hill with Reps. James Oberstar (D-MN), Tom Petri (R-WI) and John Duncan (R-TN), ASCE President Thomas Jackson and ASCE Executive Director Patrick Natale. Kalynchuk's comments from the event appear below. He was quoted in the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, and the MSNBC News and ABC News websites on September 4.


"Perhaps we should rename today's release 'A Lack of Progress Report' because what ASCE is really telling the nation is that we are failing to maintain even minimal standards in such critical infrastructure areas as drinking water, dams, energy and roads," Kalynchuk said. "In a majority of categories we are doing worse than before. Failing to invest in the country's critical infrastructure assets is unacceptable.


"All of us recognize that the events of September 11, 2001 forced our nation to readjust its thinking about infrastructure—its vulnerabilities and the economic implications that ripple from its destruction. Although we laud the fact that infrastructure security has catapulted to a national priority, the daily hazards of underinvestment also pose a serious and ominous threat if left on the back burner. Public works professionals who daily see to the maintenance, planning, and operation of our communities' critical infrastructures—roads, bridges, and water systems—will sooner see a crisis from aging and deteriorating pipes and facilities than they will a terrorist strike. Their priority is public safety on a day-to-day, month-to-month basis. Their job is to provide clean water, safe roads and bridges, and less traffic congestion while remaining mindful of the threats posed by our enemies.


"The current strains on our infrastructure make prudent asset management untenable. Without the resources to safeguard our current investments we face further deterioration and threats to the public's safety. Public works professionals believe these issues must be eased through an active partnership of federal, state, and local government working closely with the private sector to improve the transportation, clean water and other infrastructure needs identified by ASCE. Maintaining and improving our existing infrastructure, while satisfying the need for new infrastructure, will address America's short- and long-term concerns over both homeland security and the nation's economic security. We simply must have the foresight and the investment necessary to do so."


APWA President Dwayne Kalynchuk (right) speaks with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member James Oberstar.