DENVER, May 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- It's Infrastructure Week in America, and CH2M wants to know: How well is your infrastructure working for you? The question comes at a time when the nation's "big three" infrastructure systems—water, transportation and power—are showing their age, long overdue for improvements. This week, CH2M invites you to join the conversation to let leaders know how much infrastructure matters to you and your family.
"America's infrastructure is critical to public health, safety and our quality of life," says CH2M Chairman and CEO Jacqueline Hinman, who also serves as Chair of the Business Roundtable Infrastructure Committee. "As a nation, we possess the resources and options to turn this situation around for better performance and economic benefits, including robust reinvestment and innovative approaches to make our public infrastructure more scale-able and resilient."
According to the Business Roundtable report Road to Growth: The Case for Investing in America's Transportation Infrastructure, every $1 of investment in infrastructure generates an additional $3 in economic activity. Two-thirds of the United States' infrastructure will require repair or replacement in the next five to 10 years, at a projected cost of up to $3 trillion.
Hinman, who is featured in the Business Roundtable's new video on infrastructure, cites needed improvements to legacy water and transportation systems as most critical in the United States. For these challenges, CH2M highlights sustainable approaches—such as those incorporating natural infrastructure, integrated resource management and smart technologies—making infrastructure systems more adaptable and efficient than ever, while returning greater social, environmental and economic benefits to communities.
For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York City commissioned CH2M and The Nature Conservancy to examine ways to improve resiliency of coastal communities with a study of Howard Beach in Queens, one of the areas most devastated by the storm. The study found that the best defense against storm surge is achieved by combining natural infrastructure, such as oyster beds and coastal vegetation, with structural features, like sea walls. After a series of projects demonstrating the benefits of green and gray infrastructure hybrids, the study partners developed the Natural Infrastructure Guide for Business platform (www.NI4biz.org) to advance the approach, including the business case for investing in natural infrastructure; case studies from different industries leveraging various ecosystem services; and decision-making tools with a cost-benefit analysis.
Integrated Water Management
There's no greater resource-management challenge than that for water. Increasingly, local governments are reaching across jurisdictional lines and, in many cases, forming public-private partnerships to take an integrated, lifecycle approach in the management, delivery and renewal of public water. In Tucson, Arizona, where the Lower Santa Cruz River supports desert life, the Pima County Regional Water Reclamation Department partnered with CH2M to design, develop and operate an advanced water reclamation facility to improve the river's water quality and replenish supply. With the involvement of local businesses, residents and other stakeholders, the team unveiled an industry-first treatment process that achieved water-quality improvements targeted while also saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Funding Models for Transportation
Because the funding needed for transportation infrastructure exceeds current allocations, including the $305-billion Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act passed last year, communities are looking for alternative funding models to meet these critical needs. Examples include public-private partnerships (P3s), multi-jurisdictional grants, bonds and loans, as well as widely varying revenue structures across the states. Among them, CH2M points to the $2.9-billion bond-financed Grand Parkway System in Houston, funded with Texas' largest municipal bond sale launched in June 2013 to finance the design, development, acquisition and construction of five segments of the Grand Parkway Project in Harris and Montgomery Counties. A public-private partnership including the Texas Department of Transportation/Grand Parkway Transportation Corporation; Zachry-Odebrecht Parkway Builders; and CH2M acting as engineering consultant, provided a collaborative framework for the project's successful completion in fewer than 1,000 days. The now-completed Grand Parkway opened to the public on March 29, 2016, providing an outer loop around metropolitan Houston for improved traffic flow and mobility-enhancing connectivity, with capacity for future growth.
Digital technologies are playing a significant role to improve the efficiency of infrastructure in growing cities. In Oregon, the City of Portland will be among the first U.S. cities to fully integrate cutting-edge smart technologies like self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and sensor-enabled infrastructure. Leveraging $40 million pledged by the U.S. Department of Transportation with the expertise of private-sector partners including CH2M, the "Ubiquitous Mobility for Portland (UB Mobile PDX)" project will use Internet of Things (IOT) technology and locally proven open-source data sharing and security protocols as a catalyst for continued innovation in transformative mobility solutions for the community.
"For 70 years, CH2M has partnered with clients and communities to solve the toughest infrastructure challenges while remaining mindful of the greater purpose we serve—delivering clean water; modern transportation networks; and leveraging technology for efficient management of all resources—ultimately to improve lives and the condition of our planet."
CH2M leads the professional services industry delivering sustainable solutions to clients working on the world's most complex challenges. CH2Mers make a positive difference providing consulting design, engineering and management solutions for vital infrastructure and resources serving diverse public- and private-sector clients. With $5.4 billion in revenue and ~22,000 people, the firm has offices in 50 countries and four business groups: water; environment and nuclear; transportation; and energy and industrial. Known for managing global events such as the Olympic Games, CH2M ranks among Ethisphere's World's Most Ethical Companies; number-one in environmental consulting and program management by Engineering News-Record; and among sustainability leaders by independent analyst Verdantix. CH2M in 2016 was selected to receive the World Environment Center's Gold Medal Award for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development, and in 2015, received the Stockholm International Water Institute's highest Industry Water Award for advancing innovative potable reuse technologies. To learn more about the CH2M difference, connect with the firm at www.ch2m.com; linkedin.com/company/ch2m; twitter.com/ch2m; facebook.com/ch2mhill; and search for jobs at www.ch2m.com/careers.
Lorrie Paul Crum
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