Look at Infrastructure Reinvestment Kicks Off ACWA Spring Conference

Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure as a means of recapturing our cultural vision was the focus of the opening breakfast of ACWA’s 2012 Spring Conference & Exhibition, which kicked off this morning in Monterey.

Author and journalist Dan McNichol retraced America’s history of building infrastructure and shared insights into how the process has changed, including the role of government partnerships and vision.

Looking at the Big Dig, a $23 billion highway project in Boston aiming to reconnect the city with its waterfront, McNichol said the infrastructure project quickly became an environmental initiative.

“It’s the only way to move forward anymore,” he said. “Infrastructure sustains us and the environment.”

Following McNichol’s address, Bart Ney, senior communications manager for the state’s Department of Transportation, shared lessons learned from the state’s seismic retrofitting of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The $7.2 billion project will be the world’s largest self-anchored suspension bridge when it’s unveiled over Labor Day weekend in 2013.

“Communications is key to the success of your infrastructure projects,” he said. “Try to connect water investments with its importance to our culture, food and recreation. It’s a message people need to hear.”

The conference continued today with statewide issue forums on the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan and Delta flows criteria. A luncheon panel on the water bond looked at the political landscape and voter attitudes for securing investments for water infrastructure.

The conference continues through Friday at the Portola Plaza Hotel and Monterey Conference Center.