Region 9’s Infrastructure Policy Committee
by Yazdan T. Emrani, P.E., ENV SP Chair, Infrastructure Policy Committee
California, in some respects, is a microcosm of our nation. We are a culturally diverse and rapidly growing state. As such, our infrastructure is beginning to show its age. With close to 40 million residents, California is the most populated state in the country and its economy ranks as the world’s fifth largest economy. This trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. Over the next 20 years, California is expected to grow at a rapid pace. Based on some estimates, our state will add an additional 10 million residents over the next 20 years, putting California’s population at a staggering 50 million people. A well-designed and maintained infrastructure anchors our economy and secures our quality of life. Investment in infrastructure is vital to our state’s productivity, competitiveness, and economic well-being.
However, one of the biggest impediments to maximizing long-term economic growth is the urgent need to modernize our nation’s infrastructure. The cost of inaction is too high for all Americans who depend on reliable, modernized infrastructure.
The 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card (“CAIRC”) evaluated 17 categories of our State’s infrastructure and assigned a letter grade to each. The overall average of the 17 categories was ‘C-‘. (This compares to an overall of average of ‘C’ in the 2012 CAIRC.) Of the 17 categories, eleven are in mediocre condition and six are in poor condition. The Report Card outlines key areas where California’s infrastructure is doing well and where it could improve.
To that end, Infrastructure Policy Committee or IPC is a Region 9 committee that has been working to develop a framework to publicize the results of the CAIRC in ways that can resonate with the general public. This includes efforts to promote the results and recommendations of the 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card to technical (ASCE, APWA, AWWA, etc.) as well as non-technical (Chambers of Commerce, Parent Teacher Association, or PTAs, business groups, etc.) audiences throughout California.
The valuable policy recommendations contained within the CAIRC, which if implemented will improve and raise the overall grade for all of the infrastructure categories. IPC is working on potential policy positions for legislative considerations using these policy positions.
I invite all those involved in the preparation of the Report Card, or other concerned members to let me know if you would be interested in getting involved with our committee at some level. This could include helping us with updating of Region 9’s website with regards to our efforts. We are also looking for volunteers that would be interested in helping us develop promotional videos for the CAIRC. Finally, we are looking for folks who would be interested in going out and speaking in front of various groups and publicizing the Report Card results and recommendations. We are looking for a few additional members in both Northern, as well as Southern California. Specifically, we need volunteers from Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego sections.
ASCE Region 9 created the 2019 CAIRC as a public service to citizens and policymakers to inform them of the infrastructure needs in the state. Developing the grades was a lot of hard work, by a lot of folks. We need to make sure that this work continues and that we help spread the message. If you are interested in helping with any of the aforementioned tasks, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full copy of the 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card is available at www.ascecareportcard.org
California Infrastructure Symposium and Awards Recognition Event
by Daniel Cronquist, Chair, 2021 CAIS Chair
I am excited to announce that the 2021 California Infrastructure Symposium will be held on June 24th and 25th hosted by the ASCE Los Angeles Section and ASCE Region 9. The program will be brought to you virtually using the same platform as last year’s successful event. The event will be from 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM, each day.
The program will include 23 speakers divided into two tracks; water and transportation. These dynamic speakers will present on exciting and timely topics. Our four keynote speakers are:
Randy Iwasaki – Leader, State and Local Government Transportation
Amazon Web Services
Toks Omishakin – Director
California Dept. of Transportation
General Paul Owen – Commander and Division Engineer of the South Pacific Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
California Senator Anthony Portantino
Senate District 25
We are also introducing this year a student competition, where teams of students will give a video presentation on their senior projects. A panel discussion on career development is also included that will be beneficial to students and professionals alike.
The cost to attend our virtual event is $50 for professionals and $10 for students. Please visit our website (https://caisregion9.org/) for more information. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by visiting the website as well.
On the evening of June 24th we will also be hosting the ASCE Region 9 annual Awards Recognition Event. These awards represent the best of the nominations from our local branches and sections throughout the state for project and individual awards. This will also be a virtual event and you can purchase your tickets from https://caisregion9.org/.
Transportation and Development Committee
By Shari Tavaf, Chair
Dear Region 9 (California) ASCE members;
As I reflect on the most unusual year we have all lived through, I look forward to all the positive opportunities ahead as we reopen California and our nation.
As the new Chair of the Transportation and Development committee for the Region 9, I am very excited to be collaborating with the highly respected professionals in our industry in my new role. To take advantage of the momentum built by the previous leadership, I would like to invite new members to join our committee to participate in our crucial activities going forward.
In light of the importance of transportation and housing to the new administration in Washington and our continued challenges in California in both housing and transportation sectors, our committee has a great opportunity to influence the future of our state and our industry.
Our committee’s mission is:
Actively track and evaluate state assembly and senate bills to support better transportation and development policies throughout California. Educate lawmakers on the feasibility and ramifications of rules and laws under consideration by building a trusted advisory liaison with their offices.
Collaborate with other ASCE committees toward assessing the California infrastructure sustainability and reliability in response to natural disasters and delayed maintenance risks.
Support and organize the Transportation Track for the annual Infrastructure Symposium in Region 9.
We are open to new ways of becoming more impactful as advocates for effective and reliable infrastructure in California, especially for transportation and housing to ensure a better quality of life for all. Better housing and transportation will in turn support the efficiency of the companies that operate in California and rely on the world-renowned talent who live here.
As we experience the big shift in how we live and work due to Covid, we will have several opportunities and challenges to improve infrastructure planning and delivery, maintenance and operations as well as the many aspects of transportation, transit, housing and transit-oriented development.
The key activities of the committee for the upcoming year are:
- Review of draft bills from the California assembly and senate as well as any national bills that will impact transportation and development policies in California (national ASCE will support Federal law-making processes)
- Participate in California and National Legislative fly-ins
- Support the annual symposium activities
Currently our committee is busy reviewing 18 draft bills introduced in the state assembly and senate and as more bills are introduced and revised, we definitely could use your assistance. We look forward to your participation and encourage you to take an active role in ASCE – Region 9 – Transportation and Development committee. If you are interested, please contact the Chair of the committee: email@example.com.