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.

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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.

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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.

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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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October 8, 2021
Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last week: This past week I attended the annual American Society of Civil Engineers Broward Branch Officer Induction and Awards ceremony. While the title is a mouthful, it was a solid reminder of all those hard working civil engineers that go to work every day with the knowledge that 99% of people will never know nor appreciate the work they do. The Project of the Year was the Redundant Force Main project for the city of Fort Lauderdale. This project took two contractors and two engineers 18 months from start to finish to build 7.5 miles of critical infrastructure.

Looking ahead: I’m frankly disgusted with Congress and their inability to pass a fundamental piece of legislation like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Business will grind to a halt and no one wins if infrastructure fails. Great societies have great infrastructure – it’s not a desire, it’s a fact. I can’t see why infrastructure is tied to a larger social agenda. I can’t see why those who are budget hawks would vote against it. Infrastructure, once put in place, pays for itself several times over. Our children and grandchildren deserve better. Let’s hope Congress listens and acts.

 

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September 17, 2021
Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last week: This past week was the 18-month anniversary of us shutting down mandatory attendance at our offices because of COVID. Since then, we had our share of illnesses (not all COVID), we’ve had employees lose family members and we’ve had some clients put a freeze on all their projects. But we’ve also adapted – having onboarded over 40 employees virtually, with six employees working outside Florida. I’m not sure what the future will hold, but I’m very proud of the flexibility and resiliency of all our employees.

Looking ahead: I run a business. I’m proud that in my 22 years with the firm, we’ve grown from three employees to 105 employees. I’m vaccinated and everyone in my family that is eligible is vaccinated. What I can’t wrap my brain around is how the federal government thinks putting my business in some sort of supervisory role to implement vaccinations is a good idea. If the president wants to have people get vaccinated, then make it a mandate. If the governor wants to fine people for mandates, then so be it. Leave business out of it!

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September 10, 2021
Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last week: This past week, the city of Fort Lauderdale experienced the first tidal event that qualifies under the definition of king tides. King tides provide a glimpse of future everyday water levels, and they are a way to communicate local sea-level rise impacts over long time periods. Low-lying shoreline development is at increased risk of flooding because of rising seas, and public investments in infrastructure, housing and habitat restoration projects are often expected to last for decades, so we get a glimpse of what is to come in the future. Stay safe and avoid driving when roads are totally underwater.

Looking ahead: Broward County is taking a major step forward next week with the selection of a consultant to develop the Countywide Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan. The purpose of this plan is to develop an actionable resilient infrastructure improvement plan consisting of a visualization platform to aid regional planning and provide a foundation for collective mitigation of future flooding. While that sounds like a mouthful, it really is a critical step to not only create a countywide plan to address sea-level rise and resiliency, but also to be sure it is in a format accessible to all county residents.

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SunSentinel Mention

August 27, 2021
Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC
President, Chen Moore and Associates

Last week: Last week, the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) asked water users to cut back on consumption because of COVID. OUC uses ozone for disinfection in their water treatment process, which requires the use of liquid oxygen. Liquid oxygen is also used in treatments for high oxygen flows for critical COVID patients. With the current spike in COVID patients in hospitals requiring the aforementioned high flows, the supply of liquid oxygen is limited. This won’t impact South Florida water supplies, but it highlights how fragile both the supply chain and water treatment processes are. Bottom line is this: Save potable water!

Looking ahead: With the passage of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan in the House, the time for reconciliation in the Senate is coming. The idea of tying a social program to an infrastructure plan to me is abhorrent. Infrastructure is an investment in the bones of our country. A social program is an investment in the heart of our country. Everyone is entitled to their opinions about whether or not the country needs an orthopedic doctor or a cardiologist, but I think we can all agree they don’t need to see patients together.

 

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