Industry professionals need to advocate infrastructure improvements, says APWA Congress speaker Larry Frevert
Amanda Bayhi | August 26, 2013
The report outlined that funding is currently $1.6 trillion below what is needed to repair and maintain the nation’s failing infrastructure system by 2020, and it is $201 million short annually to make those repairs. And according to the society’s Failure to Act Report, which looks at “the impact of current infrastructure on America’s economic future,” the U.S. is projected to lose a total of 3.4 million jobs by 2020 if America doesn’t invest in its infrastructure.
Larry Frevert, senior consultant at Trekk Design Group, said during an American Public Works (APWA) Congress and Exposition session, which focused on the ASCE Report Card, that industry professional need to get the ASCE infrastructure information to elected officials.
Frevert suggested showing the report card to officials and to like-minded groups, meeting with congressmen, participating in the annual Fly-In and becoming an APWA “key contact.”
“You deal with it every day,” Frevert said. “You see the leaking water pipes and leaking sewer pipes. You see the deteriorating roads every day. You need to tell that story.”
Frevert added that professionals can also sign up to be an APWA advocate. He said he is an advocate, and he receives email responses from his congressman’s office thanking him for his comments and letting him know they will be considered.
Frevert also noted that when an official follows up infrastructure improvements, it is important to recognize that they have initiated change. He said promoting officials’ work and helping them get reelected will often prompt them to return the favor.
Frevert said advocating improvements to America’s infrastructure system goes beyond U.S. roads.The improvements, he said, are vital to the nation’s worldwide presence.
“Unless we continue to push on what infrastructure really is…. we are at risk of losing our position as a superpower in the world. Where is the U.S. going to be and where is Canada going to be if we don’t amp up infrastructure?”