ASCE-APWA Town Hall Meetings focus on infrastructure needs

APWA and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) co-sponsored three Infrastructure Town Hall meetings earlier this year, bringing together local leaders, public works officials and civil engineers to discuss their observations regarding national and local infrastructure conditions. The meetings were conducted in preparation for the release of the latest version of ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure in March 2005.

Held in Orlando, Phoenix and St. Louis, the Town Hall meetings helped raise public awareness about the importance of public works infrastructure and the widening investment gap that is leading to deteriorating conditions and threatening economic growth and a better quality of life. The meetings also focused attention on the need for Congress to pass a number of infrastructure bills that have stalled in recent years, including legislation to reauthorize federal transportation and water infrastructure programs.

Panelists discuss infrastructure issues at an ASCE-APWA co-sponsored Town Hall meeting in Orlando, FL. From left to right: Robert Cadle, Division Manager, Orlando Wastewater Administration; Kevin Thibault, Assistant Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation; and Alan Oyler, Interim Director of Public Works, City of Orlando.

The Town Hall meetings featured APWA and ASCE members as speakers. The Orlando meeting on January 24 included panelists Alan Oyler, Interim Director of Public Works, City of Orlando; Robert Cadle, Division Manager, Orlando Wastewater Administration; and Kevin Thibault, Assistant Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation.

The second Town Hall meeting took place in Phoenix on February 17 and included panelists Michael Ellegood, Chief Engineer, Maricopa County Department of Transportation and Wylie K. Bearup, City Engineer, City of Phoenix.

The third Town Hall meeting on February 24 in St. Louis featured panelists Garry Earls, Director of Public Works, St. Louis County; Jeffrey Theerman, Executive Director, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District; and David Visintainer, Director, Public Utilities, City of St. Louis.

During each of the Town Hall meetings, ASCE President Bill Henry presented an overview of ASCE's Infrastructure Report Cards, citing a $1.3 trillion infrastructure investment gap in 2001, which grew to $1.6 trillion by 2003.