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America's GPA: D+
Estimated Investment Needed by 2020:
$3.6 Trillion

Infrastructure Week Events to Check Out

May 12th, 2016 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

There’s a great line up of events happening for Infrastructure Week! See what’s happening near you!

Infrastructure Week Calendar of Events

Saturday, May 14 Event Location Organizer
9:30 am – 12:00 pm WTS-DC: Complete Streets Bike Tour of Arlington, VA Arlington VA Women’s Transportation Seminar – DC Chapter
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Boston Infrastructure Day: Holyoke’s Great Stone Dam and Canals Boston MA Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section
Monday, May 16 Event Location Organizer
8:00 am – 10:45 am Infrastructure Week Kickoff Event Washington D.C. Infrastructure Week Steering Committee
8:00 am – 9:00 am VOW Local Innovators Tour: Sewer Walk: Up Close and Personal Cleveland OH Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
8:00 am – 9:00 am VOW Local Innovators Tour: Virtual Tour of Virginia Initiative Plant Nutrient Reduction Improvement Project Norfolk VA HRSD, Value of Water Coalition
11:00 am – 12:00 pm National League of Cities Press Call and Report Launch: Paying for Infrastructure in a New Era of Federalism Online Webinar National League of Cities
11:00 am – 12:00 pm VOW Local Innovators Tour: Bridge Street Pump Station Groundbreaking Ceremony Hampton VA HRSD, Value of Water Coalition
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Bipartisan Policy Center Executive Council on Infrastructure: Bridging the Gap Together: A New Model to Modernize U.S. Infrastructure Washington D.C. Bipartisan Policy Center
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ONLINE WEBINAR: Opportunities in Expanding Access to Broadband for Local Leaders Online Webinar National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Cheaper, Safer Faster: How Disruptive Technologies are Changing How We Build and Operate Infrastructure Washington D.C. Eno Center for Transportation
Tuesday, May 17 Event Location Organizer
8:00 am – 4:00 pm ASCE Infrastructure Day at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Harrisburg PA ASCE PA Section
9:00 am – 3:00 pm I-49 South Day in the Louisiana State Capitol Baton Rouge I-49 South Coalition
9:30 am – 11:30 am How Tampa is Driving the Future of Transportation Tampa FL Building America’s Future, HNTB Companies
11:00 am – 12:00 pm VOW Local Innovators Tour: Press Event: A Public-Private Partnership to Improve Water and Wastewater Services Camden NJ American Water, City of Camden, Value of Water Coalition
11:30 am – 1:30 pm Infrastructure Week 2016 Capitol Hill Roundtable and Luncheon: A Vision for U.S. Infrastructure in the Year 2050 and the Path Forward Washington D.C. Association of Equipment Manufacturers
11:30 am – 2:30 pm VOW Local Innovators Tour: AlexRenew Innovation Tours Alexandria VA Alexandria Renew Enterprises, Value of Water Coalition
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm MEMA Autonomous Vehicle Ride and Drive Washington D.C. Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Optimizing U.S. Infrastructure Investment Policy Options for the 2017 Presidential Transition Washington D.C. National Academy of Public Administration
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ONLINE WEBINAR: Historical Life Cycle Costs of Steel and Concrete Girder Bridges Online Webinar American Iron and Steel Institute
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure Happy Hour Washington D.C. Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure
Wednesday, May 18 Event Location Organizer
7:40 am – 10:40 pm Women’s Transportation Seminar International – Annual Conference Austin TX Women’s Transportation Seminar International
8:00 am – 4:00 pm U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Supply Chain Summit Washington D.C. U.S. Chamber of Commerce
8:00 am – 5:00 pm International Conference on Sustainable Design, Engineering and Construction Tempe AZ Arizona State University, ASCE Architectural Engineering Institute
8:00 am – 5:00 pm ASCE Engineers Legislative Day in Sacramento, CA Sacramento CA American Society of Civil Engineers
8:45 am – 5:00 pm Infrastructure Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill Washington D.C. Infrastructure Week Steering Committee
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm MEMA Autonomous Vehicle Ride and Drive Washington D.C. Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm #InfrastructureMatters to America’s Economy: Advocacy Day Press Luncheon and ASCE Report Briefing Washington D.C. American Society of Civil Engineers, Infrastructure Week Steering Committee
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm Infrastructure Week Reception Washington D.C. Infrastructure Week Steering Committee, Value of Water Coalition
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Film Screening: Bikes vs. Cars Washington D.C. American Planning Association
Thursday, May 19 Event Location Organizer
8:00 am – 11:45 am Council of State Governments Transportation Policy Roundtable Washington D.C. Council of State Governments
8:00 am – 10:30 am Bloomberg Presents: The Future of Cities Washington D.C. Bloomberg Government, Siemens
8:30 am – 9:30 am VOW Local Innovators Tour: Green Infrastructure Tour Cleveland OH Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Value of Water Coalition
8:30 am – 9:30 am VOW Local Innovators Tour: AlexRenew Innovative Facilities Tour for Elected Officials Alexandria VA AlexRenew
8:35 am – 4:05 pm Resilient Infrastructure in the Age of Climate Change Pittsburgh PA ASCE Pittsburgh Section, Champions for Sustainability, Environmental and Water Resource Institute – Pittsburgh Section, Sustainable Pittsburgh
9:00 am – 12:30 pm How Faster Infrastructure Approvals Can Get America Moving Again Washington D.C. Common Good, Covington and Burling LLP, Progressive Policy Institute
10:30 am – 1:00 pm VOW Local Innovators Tour: AlexRenew Innovation Tours Alexandria VA Alexandria Renew Enterprises, Value of Water Coalition
11:00 am – 12:00 pm The Current State of the Nation’s Aging Public Transportation Infrastructure: Nationwide Press Conference Call PRESS CONFERENCE CALL American Public Transportation Association
1:45 pm – 4:00 pm Delivering the Goods: Recommendations for Funding a Federal Freight Program Washington D.C. Eno Center for Transportation
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Congressional Briefing for State Legislators Washington D.C. Council of State Governments, National Association of Counties
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm Securing Our Water Future: 21st Century Solutions for 21st Century Cities Washington D.C. National League of Cities, Value of Water Coalition
5:30 pm – 9:30 pm ASCE San Diego Outstanding Civil Engineering Awards San Diego CA ASCE San Diego Section
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm Nouveau Corp Infrastructure Happy Hour Washington D.C. Nouveau Corp
Friday, May 20 Event Location Organizer
8:00 am – 12:00 pm Transit Oriented Development Panel and Walking Tour of Capitol Riverfront Washington D.C. Council of State Governments
8:00 am – 2:00 pm A New Focus for Growth around the Commonwealth Boston MA Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section
9:00 am – 12:00 pm Sewer U: Seminars, Lab, and Tours Cleveland OH Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Value of Water Coalition
9:00 am – 10:30 am Building Out America’s Digital Infrastructure for the 21st Century Economy Washington D.C. Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Juneau, AK Port Tour and New Cruise Ship Dock Celebration Juneau AK American Society of Civil Engineers, City of Juneau Docks and Harbors
Saturday, May 21 Event Location Organizer
9:00 am – 12:00 pm VOW Local Innovators Tour: Recovering Resources, Transforming Water: Open House and Tour Chicago IL Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Value of Water Coalition
Monday, May 23 Event Location Organizer
7:30 am – 5:30 pm Symposium for Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Sustainability into Infrastructure Development Boulder CO ASCE Colorado Section, University of Colorado at Boulder
7:30 am – 9:00 pm Engineering Mechanics Institute Conference and Probabilistic Mechanics and Reliability Conference 2016 Nashville TN ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute, ASCE Infrastructure Resilience, ASCE Structural Engineering Institute, U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm Mobility 2050: A Vision for Transportation Infrastructure and How We Can Get There Evanston IL Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Northwestern University
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Beyond the Runway Coalition: Airport Finance – A Free Market Approach, and Airports as Economics Engines Washington D.C. Airports Council International – North America
Wednesday, May 25 Event Location Organizer
10:30 am – 12:00 pm Ribbon Cutting and Tour of the World’s Largest Nutrient Recovery Plant Chicago IL Metropolit

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Virginia's Infrastructure Struggle for Status Quo

January 23rd, 2015 | By: Infrastructure Report Card

With a state that’s growing as fast as Virginia, you’re bound to have growing pains, but none are as striking or obvious as the traffic gridlock across the state. So, would you be surprised that the Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers gave roads a D grade in their new 2015 Report Card for Virginia’s InfrastructureVA RC? While some big steps were taken by the legislature in 2013 to bring renewed funding to transportation, may end up only keeping the status quo of transportation troubles across the state whether by car or transit. Another growing pain issue for Virginia is there are a lot of dams in the state (1,789 to be exact) and the number of people that now live behind old dams has increased with the growth of the state. The majority of dams were constructed between 1950 and 1975, making the average age more than 50 years old. With an increasing population, more houses and businesses are now below dams which means there’s more risk for damage and lives being lost if there was a failure. The good news is that Virginia has made a lot of progress in identifying and educating owners on how to fix dams that are considered high-hazard, but the bad news is that 141 of these high-hazard dams do not meet current dam safety standards, resulting in a grade of C for Virginia’s dams. Growth is also affecting schools as localities try to keep up with growing schools in some areas and older school maintenance in localities that seem to be losing students and residents. Not only is Virginia growing, but its infrastructure is also starting to show its age with basic services like water, wastewater, and stormwater representing the old infrastructure bones of the cities. Virginia’s 2,830 public water systems providing drinking water to more than 7 million Virginians, and the Report Card found that many of these systems are 70 years or older and require significant asset renewal in the immediate future. The bad news is that funding is slim – from 2000 to 2012, the state only saw $200 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which is less than 10% of the commonwealth’s total investment needs. Wastewater needs have jumped 45%, and best estimates show $1 billion is needed to control overflows that pollute local waters. Also, stormwater systems are equally old, and surveys show about one-third of the infrastructure is older than 50 years and much of the remainder was built 25 to 50 years ago. While every bit of funding helps, the reality is Virginia’s water systems are only getting older each day and each dollar available is being split between trying to fix yesterday’s problems and today’s. Growth and age are like a one-two punch to Virginia’s infrastructure causing a real struggle to maintain an acceptable level of infrastructure service for the state. Virginia’s C- infrastructure shows the Commonwealth is barely maintaining the status quo, and without significant change, it will be a struggle to maintain even the current gridlock of roads and frequent water pipe breaks without new solutions. In the Report Card, they give 3 solutions to raise Virginia’s grades: 1. Increase Leadership in Infrastructure Renewal: Virginia’s infrastructure is the responsibility of all our leaders. We need bold leadership and a vision for how strategic infrastructure investment can improve the current status quo. 2. Promote Sustainability and Resilience: Today’s infrastructure must meet the state’s needs in the best and worst of times, and also protect and improve the environment and our quality of life. 3. Develop Comprehensive Strategies: Virginia should prioritize and execute infrastructure strategies that put our investments where they are needed most, according to well-conceived plans that focus on comprehensive solutions that provide a good return on investment. The Virginia legislature is just getting started, and there is no better time for them to take a second look at the infrastructure they are responsible for than now with a fresh update from the civil engineers who work on the state’s infrastructure every day.

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ASCE Participates in White House Event on Building Green Infrastructure

October 22nd, 2014 | By: Whitford Remer

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited ASCE to participate and join a new working group called the Green Infrastructure Collaborative. The Collaborative is a broad network of federal agencies, NGO’s, and private sector entities focused on promoting and implementing green infrastructure across government and in the private sector. ASCE members and staff attended the first of several meetings this month at the White House to share and build knowledge around green infrastructure technologies and policy issues from the perspective of various stakeholders. In particular, ASCE has committed to conducting research and providing information on stormwater best management practices, low-impact development, and focusing attention of environmental and water resources engineers on sustainable development principles. See ASCE’s full commitment along with other participating organizations, including the federal government. Also on this month, CEQ released a fact sheet related to building community resilience by strengthening America’s natural resources and supporting green infrastructure.  The fact sheet is part of an ongoing effort to focus on resilience following a Presidential Executive Order on Climate Preparedness issued last November. A number of important announcements were revealed in the fact sheet, including the results of a new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) screening-level vulnerability assessment tool for coastal projects, which finds that roughly one third of USACE coastal projects are vulnerable to climate change. View more of the actions announced in the fact sheet.
ASCE member, Charles Rowney (center) with Shannon Cunniff, Environmental Defense Fund (left) and Susan Gilson, National Association of Flood & Stormwater Management Agencies (right)

ASCE member, Charles Rowney (center) with Shannon Cunniff, Environmental Defense Fund (left) and Susan Gilson, National Association of Flood & Stormwater Management Agencies (right)

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Planning America’s Energy Future at ASCE 2014 Shale Energy Engineering Conference

July 24th, 2014 | By: Whitford Remer

This week, ASCE’s inaugural Shale Energy Engineering Conference was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It included three days of plenary panels, technical sessions and a visit from the Commonwealth’s Governor, Tom Corbett. In his remarks, Governor Corbett reminded the audience that 10 years ago the United States was an importer of natural gas, and today, those pipelines are literally being reserved- with Pennsylvania leading a movement to export gas abroad.  Gov. Corbett went so far as saying the rapidly growing natural gas industry in the United States “can change the geopolitics of the world.” But the Governor also issued a stark warning that engineers must be stewards of the environment saying “we look to you to be the guardians of how to do it right.” ASCE President-Elect, Bob Stevens said the Conference allows for diverse stakeholders to come together and focus on “growing working relationships across the industry,” specifically pointing out that there were multiple organizations that create shale extraction standards presenting together, including the American Petroleum Institute and National Council of State Legislators. The Marcellus Shale Coalition estimates energy companies have invested more than $500 million on road upgrades in the region, proving that our infrastructure future cannot be solely focused on one sector over another. America’s energy future is in the hands of many, including civil engineers, and it is a responsibility Conference attendees showed that they relish.

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Everything You Need to Know About the 2014 Water Resources Reform Development Act

June 17th, 2014 | By: Whitford Remer

President Obama last week signed a $12.3 billion water resources bill that will modernize critical water infrastructure while also promoting economic growth and job creation. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) authorizes 34 new Army Corps projects, establishes a new loan financing program, strengthens levee and dam safety programs and codifies new reforms to the project review process. There are a number of significant victories for ASCE and the nation’s infrastructure. The legislation is the first major water resources bill in seven years and is being applauded by organizations across the spectrum. ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure graded the nation’s ports a C, inland waterways a D-, dams a D, and levees a D-. ASCE lobbied Congress to pass the bill and is particularly supportive of the Levee Safety Initiative and The National Dam Safety Program. The national Levee Safety Initiative will promote consistent safety standards, create levee safety guidelines and provide funding assistance to states for establishing participating levee safety programs. WRRDA authorizes $395 million to support levee safety initiatives and $70 million over five years for dam safety. Once funded, these programs will provide critical resources necessary to improve the safety of the nation’s dams and levees. The bill also solves long standing expenditure issues in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF). WRRDA authorizes that 100% of funds collected by the HMTF to be allocated to the intended purpose (dredging the nation’s ports and harbors) by 2025. Previously only a fraction of funds collected by the fund were used to support port and harbor programs.  The bill also allocates 10% of HMTF expenditure for emerging harbors. WRRDA makes a number of changes to the popular Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and creates a new water financing pilot program similar to TIFIA for surface transportation projects. The new SRF provisions provide loan flexibility, lower interest rates and extended repayment periods of 30 years. SRF funds may also now be used to implement watershed plans, water conservation, stormwater recapture, and for technical assistance to small and medium treatment works.  A significant win for the engineering community is the requirement for the use of the Brooks Act qualifications based selection for A/E services or an equivalent State qualifications-based requirement (as determined by the Governor of the State when using SRF fund).  ASCE has worked to include this provision for over 10 years. The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) is intended to increase flexibility for non-federal interests and leverages private sector investments to increase the effect of federal funding.  The new WIFIA program can be used for traditional clean water and drinking water project, and also will provide assistance to projects with the goal of reducing flood damage; restoring aquatic ecosystems; improving inland and intracoastal waterway navigation systems. Finally, the bill includes new reforms at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that codifies a new internal expedited project delivery process that limits feasibility studies to 3 years at a cost of no more than $3 million in federal funding. ASCE applauds Congress for their bipartisan work passing WRRDA. We look forward to working with appropriators to ensure these programs and projects are properly funded.

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Success Story: Louisville’s Riverbank Filtration Projects are Innovating with Nature

February 12th, 2014 | By: Infrastructure Report Card

When change is needed, water utilities like the Louisville Water Company also look to see what else can be improved in the process. The Riverbank Filtration Tunnel and Pump Station project at the B.E. Payne Treatment Plant was developed in Louisville to exceed new regulations that took effect in 2012 by the Safe Drinking Water Act. This new video explains how this innovative project works to harness nature to better serve their community. The project includes combining a gravity tunnel with wells as a source for drinking water, making the Louisville Water Company the first water utility in the world to do so. The project uses the Riverbank Filtration process—a “green supply” purification method using natural filtering of a riverbank to remove contaminants. By using a natural filtration process, the project saves the state money and will result in fewer water main issues. To learn more about the project, visit the project profile or this article.  If you’d like to know more about Kentucky’s infrastructure, get a great summary of the issues here in their Infrastructure Report Card.    

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This Week in Infrastructure

November 1st, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

This week was the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, reminding us that all infrastructure is connected. When we cannot bounce back from unavoidable events, we hurt our economy. One only needs to read the countless stories this week on Sandy to see the impacts still being felt. As with almost all infrastructure, the question is how we pay for these repairs and who bears the financial burden. As politicians debate these issues, real families and real businesses continue to fight and overcome from this tragedy. Interestingly, the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy coincides with next week’s upcoming elections. Localities and states continue to struggle with funding our nation’s infrastructure, perhaps best summarized in this quote from U.S. Conference of Mayors President Scott Smith (mayor of Mesa, AZ): “I think there is one thing mayors as a whole are concerned about and that is the seeming lack of commitment and excitement about long-term transportation and infrastructure investments.” Luckily, the great state of Maine is in a position to improve its infrastructure at the ballot box next week. On Nov. 5, Maine voters will be asked to approve Question 3, which asks whether voters favor a $100 million bond issue for reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for equipment and facilities related to other modes of transportation. This bond would be matched with about $154 million. With the backing of the Bangor Daily News and other publications, the Question continues to pick up momentum. Hopefully Maine voters will see the direct connection between the Question and their economic future next Tuesday. Till next week.

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New National Geographic Event Offers Opportunity to Reexamine Electric Grid

October 23rd, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

On October 27th, the National Geographic Channel presents American Blackout, a two-hour programming event that imagines the first two weeks immediately following a catastrophic blackout from a cyber-attack on the United States that takes down the power grid. This movie should serve as a stark reminder about the importance of our electric grid. At ASCE, we are concerned with what we can control, such as investing and upgrading of our mostly antiquated power grid. While the film is indeed impactful, the great news is that we—you, me, and our elected officials—can control the reliability and vitality of our nation’s electricity. In the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, ASCE awarded the nation’s Energy sector a D+. Today, the U.S. relies on an aging electrical grid and pipeline distribution system, some of which originated in the 1880s. While demand for electricity has remained level, the availability of energy will become a greater challenge as the population increases. As part of our efforts to better understand the importance of infrastructure, we conducted a series of economic studies we call “Failure to Act” that look at how underinvestment hurts our economy. Unless the investment gap is filled, blackouts and brownouts will increase costs for households and businesses. If we close the gap in investment (at total of $107 Billion) in our power system, we can protect 529,000 lost jobs and $656 billion in lost personal income by 2020. Solutions for our energy needs are prevalent. We need to be more lenient in the siting of new transmission lines that will relieve congestion and facilitate the transfer of electricity from renewable energy sources as we phase out our backbone of coal fired power plants.  We must reduce the long and costly permitting process that unfairly target overhead power lines; when a transmission line can cost up to ten times as much to permit it than it does to build it, we have a problem. And finally, we need political leadership at all levels to have the courage to invest in our systems, assure reliability, and plan for the overall life-cycle costs of this critical infrastructure. Only by working together can we hope to improve our energy grid and avoid an American Blackout.

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D.C.’s Dunbar High School Goes Deep to Go Green

October 10th, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

Historic Dunbar High School, located in the heart of Washington, D.C., has gone deep to go green.  While the new school building has all the outward qualities a student could want – a beautiful theater, a gym and pool, open space, and so much more – the most fascinating part of the school’s renovation is under the football field. Yes, the football field. Designed by architects at Perkins Eastman, Dunbar is the largest urban geothermal system in the District at 850 tons of capacity and is essentially sourcing its heating and cooling from 362 wells dug 460 feet into the core of D.C. Using roof solar panels, two 20,000-gallon cisterns for reusing rainwater for toilet flushing, and radiant heating systems, Dunbar is set to achieve LEED Platinum certification for their new school facility. Read more about the geothermal well system here. Take a photo tour here. Watch a video about the history of Dunbar High here.

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This Week’s Top 5 Infrastructure Stories

September 6th, 2013 | By: America's Infrastructure Report Card

ASCE Report Card Chair Writes for PBS on Infrastructure’s Present and Future Expanding cities, global businesses, and an interconnected world mean that people need to travel to more places than ever before. Cities cannot prosper in isolation, and businesses cannot thrive if they cannot move goods effectively. As our nation continues to grow, so too must our basic infrastructure. Today, our roads, bridges, and transit systems are not keeping pace with America’s rapid change—meaning we are not positioning ourselves for the future. Maine House Majority Leader Backs Infrastructure Investment Maine wins when we make smart investments in our future. The recent State House approval of a bipartisan jobs and infrastructure bond package was just such a win. Looking ahead, we must next consider funding for research and economic development. Afraid of Heights!: Man Looks for Scariest Bridges The United States has seen a golden age of magnificent bridges built since the 1930s, O’Donnell says, and now the nation will likely focus on maintenance. Transportation and civil engineering groups have been warning for years about the consequences of neglecting U.S. bridges. Chair of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Rides the Future Google’s not the only entity testing self-driving cars on actual US roads. Today, Bill Schuster (R-PA), the congressman who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, took a 33-mile trip in an autonomous vehicle built by Carnegie Mellon University and funded by General Motors. The 2011 Cadillac SRX ferried the Pennsylvania congressman from the town of Cranberry to Pittsburgh International Airport earlier this morning, while a cameraman broadcast his journey to the web. Infographic: Commuters Have Changed, So Must Our Infrastructure The percentage of U.S. workers who drove to work in a private vehicle grew from 62.7 percent in 1960 to 84.4 percent in 2011, according to Census Bureau data. Only around 9 percent commuted using a carpool in 2011, half the percentage of workers that carpooled in 1980.

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