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VHB Engineering Rob. Eshbacher – Infrastructure Issues

October 23, 2009 @ 12:00 am EDT


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This morning our speaker was Robert Eschbacher of VHB Engineering. He and his firm specialize in infrastructure engineering. After a brief description of what infrastructure consisted of, Mr. Eschbacher read a report card on the state of repair of existing infrastructure. Roads, bridges, aviation facilities, rail, and several other categories were cited. The grade for bridges was the best at C, with an average being D.

The cost of repairing, replacing and adding the new infrastructure that we presently need is $2.2trillion. As enormous as that number is, it may be conservative.

It was a disheartening realization the America has fallen so far behind, while other modern societies are in much better physical shape, and each year we get further behind.

In the Q&A portion of the meeting questions of solving problems suggested that we are probably never going to build our way out of a road deficit. If we do not embrace new transportation and city planning we will always be behind in our needs.

This was not an uplifting and hopeful picture being painted for us. On the other hand if we don’t look at these problems honestly, we will be less likely to be successful in the future.

When we built the Erie Canal in NY State it was a boon to business. When we built the railroads we brought the country together and developed the west. When we built the Interstate Highway we facilitated commerce on a new scale. We are no longer thinking in those terms, and that’s a shame.

On the other hand all of the problems we have, present themselves as great opportunities to build great systems that work.

Ernie Fazio

To watch the video of this presentation, please click HERE.

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