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  • 1.  RI Set to Release Infrastructure Report Card

    Posted 06-18-2020 02:13 PM
    We are gearing up for the release of the Report Card for Rhode Island's Infrastructure 2020!  Our release event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24th, 10am EDT.  It will be streaming on riasce.org, Facebook, and right here on Collaborate! We hope you will be able to join us!

    The ASCE Report Card is a resource for the public and officials to use in order to assess the current state of infrastructure and the measures necessary to raise the grade.

    While discussion of the content and grades for the RI Report Card is restricted until its release, please feel free to add questions and comments that you have regarding the infrastructure report card process.  Also, I am happy to share more general info on the smallest state in the union for those who have yet to visit!

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI

  • 2.  RE: RI Set to Release Infrastructure Report Card

    Posted 02-05-2021 04:46 PM
    Hi Chad,
    Someone just sent me the link below.

    It's a set from the John Oliver show on TV.

    If viewers can set aside their aversion to occasional language
    not usually part of our dialogue, it is a POWERFUL wake-up call.

    N.B. John's vocabulary and examples are meant to break through the usual technical and political
    carefully worded comments on the subject by people who rely on the same people being criticized
    for continued funding.

    If ASCE is both serious and personal about its commitment to hold
    government PUBLICALLY accountable for funded actions that matter, viewing this 21 minute 
    presentation is a must across our ASCE Family. . .followed by continuing bolder, public assertions.

    • The information below contributed by others.

    Infrastructure: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) [1]  21:13

    America's crumbling infrastructure: It's not a sexy problem, but it is a scary one. 

    [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpzvaqypav8

    Stay Healthy!
    p.s. Politicians are always ready to act and fund when the situation that ignites action caused the death and destruction
    of people and facilities. e.g., What triggered ASCE to develop Manual 73?

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 3.  RE: RI Set to Release Infrastructure Report Card

    Posted 02-05-2021 09:07 PM
    Edited by Chad Morrison 02-05-2021 09:17 PM
    John Oliver has done a great job bringing attention to infrastructure issues to the mainstream!  So much that Danbury, CT has named their wastewater treatment plant in honor (or dishonor) of him!

    Here is the link for the RI Report Card: https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/RI-InfrastructureReportCard-2020.pdf

    And here is some of the media coverage we received:

    Rhode Island's First-Ever Infrastructure Report Delivers Mixed Marks | 2020-07-22 | Engineering News-Record (enr.com)

    R.I. gets C- on infrastructure report card - Providence Business News (pbn.com)

    It is not the responsibility of ASCE to hold the government accountable.  The government answers to the people.  The report card is a resource for the media, government, and the people to learn more about infrastructure issues in order to take the necessary action.

    The report card grades are not intended to tear down state officials or agencies, but rather draw attention to shortfalls.  In some ways a low grade is desirable to the state or agency as it identifies a need for more funding or resources.  Each report card chapter includes recommendations to raise the grade.

    ASCE is active in engaging government officials through the Key Contact program and Legislative Fly-In.  Future World Vision is the exciting initiative to engage the public in a new interactive way.  The Dream Big Imax film was also produced to reach a wide audience and is available on Netflix.  The RI Section Younger Member Group held a very successful family screening just prior to the pandemic, that we hope to repeat soon.  

    I too agree that the profession deserves greater exposure for successes, rather than disasters, from the mainstream media.  Maybe the lesson at the moment is that stadiums (often the pinnacle of engineering and showpiece of a city) are not only a place for football, but a community center and emergency hub.

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI

  • 4.  RE: RI Set to Release Infrastructure Report Card

    Posted 02-10-2021 03:07 PM

    Thanks, Chad for sharing your beliefs and insights.

    Perhaps we are after the same thing and express such thoughts somewhat differently.

    I have attached brief docs on the major components of infrastructure[1] to help all of us recall the somewhat overwhelming magnitude and past and potential impact of it.

    While on the one hand your comment "It is not the responsibility of ASCE to hold the government accountable" seems OK, it begs the question then what other collection of planet-wide infrastructure experts do have such knowledge-based expertise to do so? Consider the lack of restraint on the part of the AMA to directly engage with the public.[2]

    Then we have the horrific Flint, MI., quality of drinking water crisis.

    One person was the visible pioneer,[3] Dr. Marc Edwards, P.E.,

    ·      From hero to pariah, Flint water expert fights for his reputation [4]

     "In 2016 this environmental engineer was among Time's 100 most influential people, Fortune's 50 greatest leaders, Politico's top 50 visionaries and Foreign Policy's 100 greatest thinkers."

    "His is a higher calling, he said. In fact, it's the first canon of his profession's code of ethics: Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public."

    "Six weeks later, the government officials came around. The State of Michigan declared a public health emergency."

    "No one else was willing to help," said LeeAnne Walter, an activist leader who helped bring Edwards to town. "He's all about trying to find the truth."

    By  Francis X. Donnelly   The Detroit News                                                 Published April 25, 2019

    Stay Healthy!



    [1] Bridges, tunnels, water, dams, highways, wastewater.

    [2] www.ama-assn.org/health-care-advocacy

    [3] Pioneers are identified by the arrows in their back.

    [4] https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2019/04/26/hero-pariah-flint-water-expert-mark-edwards-fights-for-his-reputation/3546987002/

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 5.  RE: RI Set to Release Infrastructure Report Card

    Posted 02-10-2021 09:39 PM
    Edited by Chad Morrison 02-10-2021 10:17 PM
    ASCE promotes actions through policy and advocacy initiatives.  They tend to be overarching and inclusive of the  civil engineering community.  Just below the public safety commitment in the Code of Ethics is the following clause:

    "express professional opinions truthfully and only when founded on adequate knowledge and honest conviction"

    Our civil engineering profession covers many fields of expertise and opinions do vary among the membership, as seen on this forum. Finding consensus can be difficult and even defining Standard of Care can be arduous.  

    Dr. Edwards meets the above requirement to express his opinions on the Flint water crisis, as an environmental engineer who has done his homework.  He also works in the academic setting (maybe has tenure) where he is free to engage in public discourse.  For the practicing engineer, this presents more of a challenge given perceived conflicts of interest and lack of expertise on the subject at hand.

    The RI Report Card was written with the Flint water disaster, the gas line disaster in Lawrence, MA, and climate change in mind.  I was able to participate in the writing and editing of the Report Card because these subjects are outside of my field of practice.  I am also conscious that I am not an expert in these fields and offering a public opinion could be problematic.  Thus, the Report Card presents the findings of the research conducted by myself and the team.  It offers recommendations supported by the research and not subjectivity.  The Report Card provides the framework for members to engage in advocacy at the local level.  It is restrained because it is produced by local practicing professionals and received by their peers (who may be employed or contracted by the state).  

    One point I was passionate about including was returning passenger rail service between Woonsocket, RI & Worcester, MA.  This was a need heard about first hand from the community.  I am very proud to speak up as a voice that can be heard at a state and national level representing a small city that is literally off the main line.

    The Code of Ethics alone, presents challenges to engineers when participating in advocacy.  As mentioned in previous discussions, it raises the issue of "to what end?"  How safe is safe enough?  How clean is clean enough?  Opinions vary.  

    I will take this opportunity to plug RI ASCE's upcoming Live Stream:
    How is ASCE Advancing the Profession? - American Society of Civil Engineers

    The next live stream is scheduled for March 18th and feature Dr. Joe Goodwill of the University of Rhode Island will be presenting on the Flint, MI water crisis.  The event will be posted on Collaborate, so please stay tuned!

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI

  • 6.  RE: RI Set to Release Infrastructure Report Card

    Posted 05-07-2021 12:40 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 05-07-2021 12:39 PM
    Hello again Bill,

    Thank you very much for finding this video. I cannot think of anything else that so expertly dissects and encapsulates why civil engineering remains an enigmatic 'structure' in the governmental and political spheres.

    1. Because building structures is all about stopping accidents before they happen, only when they do happen is any tragedy widely recognized.
    2. The images and stories involving engineers keeps involving invisible/background work while something else is front and center.
    3. There is a collective ignorance to the significance of civil engineering as a backbone to society across generations.

    I have mentioned in another discussion that I rarely find engineers front and center in any kind of popular medium. It has reminded me of how few people in the political sphere have engineering degrees, much less fields like cinema.

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Bexley OH