Aii Asks: Do you think America should Rebuild Better starting now?21 Sep 2020
Infrastructure Week, hosted by United For Infrastructure and partnered with many organizations including Aii, has come to a close. The virtual conference included panels, papers, and perspective across the nation and from all backgrounds. The year’s theme is “Rebuild Better” with special emphasis on rebuilding America’s infrastructure, incorporating resilience, and highlighting innovation. With the current state of American infrastructure at varying levels of disrepair, the topic is more important than ever.
Aii Asks: Do you think America should Rebuild Better starting now?
You answered: Yes.
Of those polled, 100 percent said we should start Rebuilding Better now! This unsurprising result comes from our infrastructure-enthusiastic audience. The alternative option was “No! It is not a high priority.”
While many people may have thought about voting no on the basis of prioritizing other issues, everyone said yes. This is consistent with public and political polling that Americans want better infrastructure!
We have highlighted the importance of not just building better, but rebuilding for resilience. With potential threats of climate change including harsh storms, rising seas, or simply temperature changes, it is critical that we invest in the buildings, utilities, grid, sewers, levees, storm walls, and more that can keep us safe and protect property in the future. We know the storms will come, and rather than focus only on emissions and energy policy, we must take proactive steps to improve our infrastructure to last through even the strongest of future storms.
Other building projects in need of a shot in the arm are the Highway Trust Fund, currently facing funding shortages and looming insolvency. Local and national attention is needed for electrical grids. And while COVID-19 slowed down many industries, freight moving by truck and by rail highlighted the importance of moving these goods and the investments and policy needed to keep them competitive and innovative.
Perhaps most critically, when building and rebuilding better, damage from underground hazards must be prevented. Calling 811 before breaking ground is the law, and it begins a chain of events through utility One-Call centers that notify utility companies, which send locators to mark with flags and spray paint the underground hazards in the area of the proposed excavation.
Rebuilding Better is a group effort, and perhaps no better example of collaboration exists than the underground utility One-Call center system.
American infrastructure has many challenges. The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure is here to research and educate on those challenges, propose solutions, and facilitate the conversation between those setting the rules and those doing the work. Better communication and pro-innovation policy will help us Rebuild Better. At Aii, Infrastructure Week does not end here. The conversation continues 365 days a year!