Infrastructure is the backbone of our community. While we don’t always acknowledge it, the condition of our infrastructure has a very real impact on our lives. We all depend on roads and bridges to get us where we are going, water infrastructure that delivers clean on-demand water, electricity to light our home and office, and schools that will facilitate a learning environment. Historically, our country’s large infrastructure investments have been reactionary measures to the national and world economic and current events, and generally between these major events our investment are inadequate to meet our needs. Many of our infrastructure systems are struggling to stay in adequate condition, and as these systems continue to surpass their intended lifecycles, New Hampshire residents and policymakers must decide if we value the personal and economic advantages that come from a robust infrastructure network, and if we do, to make it a priority moving forward.
The Report Card was created to help New Hampshire understand the state of our infrastructure. As civil engineers, our job is to plan, design, construct, and maintain our infrastructure networks, and the ASCE-NH 2017 Report Card provides an opportunity to share that information with the public. This document is a snapshot for residents and policymakers to engage in conversation about where we are and where we want to be. We hope that this information provides the insight needed to start that conversation.
2017 REPORT CARD FOR
NEW HAMPSHIRE’S INFRASTRUCTURE
Specifically related to this solution, ASCE-NH attempted to, but was not able to incorporate our schools section into the report card this year because of the lack of recent condition data. We recommend immediate and sustained collection of such data on a statewide basis, which improves our ability to assess the challenges facing our school infrastructure and allows us to strategically invest in our facilities for future generations.
SOLUTIONS TO RAISE THE GRADE
If New Hampshire is ready to improve our infrastructure, ASCE-NH has some suggestions to start raising the grade.
BE INFORMED AND VOCAL
Learn about your community’s infrastructure needs. Go to town halls or legislative events, and get to know your elected officials and discuss your concerns with them.
SUPPORT CONSISTENT POLICIES AND FUNDING SOURCES
ASCE-NH recognizes that comprehensive planning and long-term funding are keys to sound decision making. Inconsistent policy and unsustainable funding sources undermine the ability to plan for the future. Funding needs to incorporate the cost of a project over its entire lifespan – including designing, building, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure.
LOCALLY SOURCED FUNDING
While NH depends heavily on federal funding and federal financing to supplement our state budget, we need to start thinking about how we can help ourselves and put policies in place to incorporate long-term, sustainable funding on a state and local level, that will address our needs.
KNOW WHAT YOU DONT KNOW
NH has a reputation of creating policy based on data. This is good news, but we want to recognize that acquisition of data is a continuous effort and an important one to shape appropriate policies. Furthermore, while there is a need to act, an emphasis on proper planning and design is essential for the best return on investment.
Check the NH Legislative Tracking Center to find legislation that you care about (hint... infrastructure)
Now that you know who your Elected Officials are, EMAIL THEM and let them know that you care about New Hampshire's infrastructure