Critical infrastructure decay is occurring in this country at an unsustainable rate. Decades of negligence and underfunding has brought the U.S. to a tipping point. Recent events such as the near failure of the Oroville Dam and the Gold King Mine blowout, as well as the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, emphasize that the time to invest in infrastructure is now. The National Society of Professional Engineers believes the professional engineer’s education, experience, and professional obligations to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare place the professional engineer in a key leadership role in ensuring infrastructure rebuilding, enrichment, and enhancement.
"Infrastructure is the framework that supports virtually every aspect of our lives: transportation, commerce, public health, safety, and security," said Kodi Verhalen, P.E., Esq., F.NSPE, president of NSPE. "We need to be sure we're adequately investing, managing, and caring for it, and as we continue to progress, that professional engineers play a critical role in ensuring its safe development and improvement."
Infrastructure investment must be constantly maintained, enhanced, and enriched through a continual program of upgrading, maintenance, and replacement. Activities associated with infrastructure design, engineering, construction, operations, and maintenance, individually and collectively, work synergistically to enrich and enhance our global economy. A strong national infrastructure enriches our nation’s global economic position, including our nation’s workforce, production, health, and safety. Long range planning is essential to the enhanced upgrading and maintenance of infrastructure assets and ensures that future capital budget requests are identified, recognized and advocated for in the strategic budgeting process.
Professional engineers provide critical expertise and serve an essential and unique role in this process as the individual in the decision chain who has a duty that puts public safety first and overrides competitive, deadline-driven or short-sighted budgetary pressures. At a time of increased public distrust of institutions, reinforced by the failures noted above, the role of the professional engineer in ensuring long-range public safety concerns are addressed is of paramount importance.
The National Society of Professional Engineers is a member-centric, nimble, future-focused, and responsive organization, serving as the recognized voice and advocate of licensed Professional Engineers. Through education, licensure advocacy, leadership training, multidisciplinary networking, and outreach, NSPE enhances the image of its members and their ability to ethically and professionally practice engineering. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 31,000 members and the public through 52 state and territorial societies and over 400 chapters. For more information, please visit www.nspe.org.