SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

As published by the Sun Sentinel on November 11, 2022

Last week: I just wanted to give a quick thank you to everyone who ran for office, regardless of the success of their campaigns. America was built on everyday people giving of themselves for the betterment of their communities and I’m proud of everyone who put themselves out there. Win or lose, there are always positive things to take away from the experience.

Looking ahead: Well, the deck is stacked more than ever in the favor of the majority party as we looked forward to the special session on property insurance in mid-December. There are so many reasons why this is critical for the state of Florida, and this is the first great test of the now more deeply red environment. With 7.03% of the homeowners claims originating in Florida, but 76.32% of the homeowners insurance lawsuits originating in Florida, there are many reforms needed. From eliminating one-way attorney fees to tightening the definition of bad faith to Citizens Insurance reforms, we need change now.

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SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

As published by the Sun Sentinel on October 21, 2022

Last week: The Clean Water Act (CWA) was signed 50 years ago this week. The CWA is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Its objective is to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation’s waters. The law recognizes the responsibilities of the states in addressing pollution and provides assistance to states to do so, including funding for publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of wastewater treatment and maintaining the integrity of wetlands. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has delegated authority to manage and, sometimes, fund this in Florida. This was a great day in American history.

Looking ahead: Recently, the largest clean energy lending institution, Ygrene, stopped funding PACE loans to homeowners in Florida without warning. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs provide an alternative way for Florida homeowners to finance energy efficient upgrades to their home, like impact windows and doors. This financing program allowed participating counties and municipalities to assist homeowners in financing these improvement projects. Not only are they not funding any more projects, but they are not funding any projects that have already been approved. Homeowners that were trying to do the right thing were left out in the cold. They need help soon.

 

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SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

As published by the Sun Sentinel on October 7, 2022

Last week: I’ve seen a lot of people that excitedly posted about dropping gas prices due to the gas tax holiday that is taking place the entire month of October 2022. This effectively reduces the price of gas by 25.3 cents per gallon. Sadly, most Floridians don’t know that these taxes go to fund a large portion of the Florida Department of Transportation and local governmental budgets for capital projects and mass transit. In this particular case, the lost money will be offset by federal COVID relief dollars, but robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t great policy.

Looking ahead: The University of Florida’s Presidential Search Committee has unanimously recommended U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse as the sole finalist to become the University of Florida’s 13th president. Sasse currently serves as a senator from Nebraska and is a former college president, highly accomplished scholar and nationally recognized authority on higher education. While this still needs to move forward for approval by the Board of Trustees, this is a huge change for the state’s flagship university.

 

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SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

As published by the Sun Sentinel on September 30, 2022

Last week: For Floridians, the story of the week was Hurricane Ian. For those of us that grew up on 1990s end-of-world disaster movies, though, the story of the week was NASA’s successful Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission relating to altering the trajectory of asteroid Dimorphos. While It will take days to weeks for astronomers to confirm whether DART accomplished its primary goal, which is to speed up the time Dimorphos takes to orbit its partner asteroid, Didymos, by perhaps 10 or more minutes, the mission to make contact with an object 11 million kilometers from Earth was achieved.

Looking ahead: Hurricane Ian is heading to Tampa … Tallahassee … Tampa … And then it ends up in Fort Myers. In the time following recovery and rebuilding, there will be much learned from the data collected and how it impacts the models used to predict the path and intensity of hurricanes. Similarly, engineers use past information to calculate the duration and intensity of rainfall to prevent loss of life from hurricanes and random December rainstorms. Collaboration between cities, counties, water management districts and other stakeholders helps put the big in “big data,” which continues to make predictions better — but not perfect.

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SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

As published by the Sun Sentinel on June 3, 2022

Last week: The condo reform legislation passed as a “side thought” in the special session on insurance reform was the gem of this legislative year. Putting in place a comprehensive program for inspections, with special emphasis on high risk properties, along with not allowing condo boards to waive reserve funds specifically used for the maintenance of these structures will save lives, period. Just as importantly, this legislation restores confidence in the value of condo structures as a viable place to live and invest. The Florida Legislature showed leadership with compromise and understanding to benefit all Floridians.

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SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

As published by the Sun Sentinel on April 2, 2022

We are barely scratching the surface. What’s next for our nation’s infrastructure? | Opinion

On Nov. 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) into law. The White House has considered this to be “a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness.” As a civil engineer, I give credit to all the politicians involved in creating excitement around infrastructure funding. We can point to this act as only progress, and we can now begin to measure the impact of this investment and, more importantly, we can begin to measure the multiplicative return on investment that is well-documented from past investments. And from what we can measure, a trillion dollars doesn’t go too far.

Despite all the appreciation that I have as a civil engineer and a citizen, the IIJA barely the scratches the surface of our nation’s needs, and if this is the only investment in infrastructure in this generation, the United States will fall even further behind on the world stage. This is evident on a couple of levels.

When the average person hears about a $1.2 trillion investment, it sounds more than sufficient to meet our needs, but in reality, it falls far short. The first example of this shortfall is the fact that, of the $1.2 trillion, only $550 billion is actually new money programmed to be spent on transportation, water and power infrastructure and pollution cleanup. The remainder, more than half, is simply regular annual spending on infrastructure projects.

Drawing on the technical knowhow of its membership, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) produces independent reporting on America’s infrastructure for the benefit of both our decision makers and the average citizen. Every four years, ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report card, assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement. While this publication produces bite-sized pieces of information that help guide decision making, the accompanying Failure to Act Study provides the economics behind the grades.

Based on the latest Failure to Act Study, the total needs for the nation based on current trends and extended until 2029 are just short of $6 trillion ($5.937 trillion to be exact), while funding levels, inclusive of the IIJA, which was passed after the study was published, are closer to $4 trillion.

Even worse, the Failure to Act Study highlights that, without action, by 2039, failing infrastructure will cost the US $10 trillion in gross domestic product, over 3 million jobs and $2.24 trillion in exports. This further dries up the pool of funds available for investment in not only infrastructure, but any other needs that our country faces. Keep in mind 2039 is only 17 years away, which is less than any current timeframe considered to be a “generation.”

Infrastructure spending obviously benefits engineers, but infrastructure spending has a return on investment that also benefits the greater population. Direct benefactors obviously include material suppliers, equipment manufacturers and construction workers, but secondary impacts push down to those who mine or farm the materials, those who build the equipment, and those who feed, equip and train the construction workers. Overall improvements, particularly to increase reliability, benefit the logistics and manufacturing industries overall. Finally, general benefits to the average person include reduction in commuting, traffic calming and other time benefits. Every dollar invested in infrastructure returns between three and seven times to the overall economy.

We have the needs. We’ve proven the investment pays returns. Thank you, but isn’t it time we say what’s next?

Peter Moore is president and CEO of Chen Moore and Associates, a civil engineering firm specializing in water resources, water and sewer, landscape architecture, transportation, planning and irrigation and electrical, environmental and construction engineering services.

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-op-com-infrastructure-act-more-money-20220401-tg7y3plgdzffxf44g6wcp3nouu-story.html

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SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last week: This past week, President Biden signed into law the appropriations behind the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), providing significant funding for the next five years for various infrastructure initiatives. This includes a 43% increase in funding for highway programs, a 61% increase for public transportation projects and a 137% increase for airport construction. Each of these is a significant “down payment” towards the nearly $2.2 Trillion in funding gap between what is authorized and what is needed according to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ recent 2021 Failure to Act study. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Looking ahead: Next week I’ll spend my 21st consecutive year judging a civil engineering competition called the Concrete Canoe. The concept is to gain a hands on knowledge of the design, construction and racing of a canoe that is made of concrete products that floats. Since the early 1970’s, experiments in light weight concrete led to the development of concrete canoes, but the first National competition was held in 1988. The competition includes a technical paper, presentation and aesthetics, going well beyond the typical purposeful designs that engineers are typically synonymous with. These are our next generation of infrastructure leaders.

Karen RachlesSunSentinel Mention
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SunSentinel Mention

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last weekThe past week, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) unveiled the first of five digital worlds within the Future World Vision (www.futureworldvision.org) project. To build the future, first we must visualize it. Mega City 2070 is not science fiction. It’s not a video game. Guided by extensive scenario planning and grounded in deep research, Future World Vision introduces a plausible city and its evolution from 2020 to 2070. The immersive, 3D digital model puts users at the heart of Mega City, inviting contributions to the platform. Thinking about the future guides the decisions we make today.

Looking ahead: In light of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict, a new European Union energy strategy is expected to be unveiled March 2. It calls for a 40% reduction in fossil fuel use by 2030, coincidentally the approximate amount that the EU receives from Russia, and requires European energy companies to fill their storage tanks with natural gas this summer so that the continent is less dependent on Russian gas next winter. A focus on renewable energy is a large part of that strategy and reminds us here, far from the conflict, of the importance of energy independence.

Karen RachlesSunSentinel Mention
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SunSentinel Mention

January 21, 2022

Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last week: Last week, while I was in Tallahassee, there was an addition to a relatively simple bill that essentially does away with personal liability protection for design professionals in construction projects. This is a provision that the design community worked for years to get into place after a court case considered this for the first time about 15 years ago. Every design professional works for a business with much deeper pockets than any individual, and if this provision isn’t killed, it will make getting people to enter this profession, which is already in need, much more difficult and will slow all construction.

Looking ahead: There are a series of bills related to the Surfside tragedy that will be considered over the next couple weeks. Many are backed by leadership, so they will flow through the committees and floor votes easily. Hopefully, this will bring clarity to a situation that has had as many opinions as condo units that were lost. While the situation was absolutely tragic, there needs to be a measured response for new construction and inspection of existing buildings. Annual inspections, destructive testing or other extreme measures aren’t in anyone’s best interests.

Karen RachlesSunSentinel Mention
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SunSentinel Mention

December 12, 2021
Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last week: With Gov. DeSantis unveiling the “Always Ready Florida” program’s first wave of projects, including $270 million spread over 76 projects throughout Florida, it appears the ball is starting to roll. The plan still has to be approved by the Legislature in the 2022 session, which means it could always be subject to change, although Republican leadership in the House has signaled support. For now, it’s made up of a list of projects that were initially submitted to the Resilient Florida grant program, the first-ever pot of state money specifically designed to help cities and counties adapt to climate change.

Looking ahead: I moderated a session at the 13th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit relating to resilient infrastructure. The real work comes in the following weeks, though, as our leaders come back and begin to make regional plans. The New York City Economic Development Committee (EDC) is preparing a nearly $4 billion plan to build protective flood walls, 12 to 15 feet above sea level, to protect the incredible assets in Lower Manhattan. It will take that kind of regional approach for South Florida to make meaningful progress. Water will always find its path of least resistance.

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