Orange County's Infrastructure Scores an Overall Grade of "C", According to Study by UCI Engineering Affiliates

ORANGE COUNTY'S INFRASTRUCTURE SCORES AN OVERALL GRADE OF "C," ACCORDING TO STUDY BY UCI ENGINEERING AFFILIATES

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 10, 2002 — Orange County's infrastructure rated an average grade of C, according to the Orange County Report Card released by the UC Irvine Civil and Environmental Engineering Affiliates in conjunction with several public and member organizations.

The five-month study evaluated eight infrastructure areas considered key to the county's continued economic prosperity and quality of life to arrive at the following grades:

  • Aviation - C+
  • Parks, recreation and environment - C
  • Schools - D+
  • Solid waste - B
  • Transportation - C
  • Urban runoff/flood control - D
  • Water - B
  • Wastewater - C+

"This first-ever study of Orange County's infrastructure is intended to provide a snapshot of the current status of our infrastructure and serve as a baseline for our long-term monitoring project," said Jan Scherfig, emeritus professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a part of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. "It is hoped that this information will help citizens and elected officials to ensure that our systems are maintained and improved. Only then can we be sure of continued environmental and economic benefits."

The grades will be publicly unveiled at 10 a.m., followed by remarks from County Supervisor Todd Spitzer. The event will take place at the Beckman Center for the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, across from the UCI campus. Speakers will include Stan Oftelie, president of the Orange County Business Council, and Robert Bein, founder of RBF Consulting and past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the nation's oldest engineering society. The speakers will be followed by a town hall meeting question-and-answer session and lunch. "Citizen's Guides" explaining the study will be given to all attendees.

"Infrastructure in Orange County is the key to our quality of life," said Yazdan Emrani, chair of the Report Card Executive Committee and past president of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Affiliates. "Our goal is to use the report card to starting a dialog on the issue of maintaining and improving of our infrastructure."

The study was conducted by eight committees of more than 100 volunteers, primarily civil engineers, architects and planners. The committees collected data from numerous public agencies through phone interviews and surveys and by reviewing existing reports. The committees then assigned letter grades to each of the eight infrastructure categories based upon three factors: condition, capacity and operations. Complete details and background on the methodology behind the grades will be posted on the Web at http://ocreportcard.eng.uci.edu.

The Orange County Report Card was modeled after the national infrastructure assessment conducted last year by ASCE, and has sparked a similar study in Los Angeles County.

Study participants also include the California Rebuild America Coalition, Center for a New Orange County, Orange County Business Council and the Orange County chapters of ASCE and the American Public Works Association.

CEE Affiliates, a group of approximately 30 public and private entities, supports research on civil infrastructure systems by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Members include the California Department of Transportation, Orange County Sanitation District and Irvine Water District.

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering encompasses five departments: biomedical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, chemical engineering and materials science, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering. The school also is home to numerous research centers, including the Structural Engineering Test Facility, National Fuel Cell Research Center and Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility. In addition, the school is an integral part of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, one of three California Institutes for Science and Innovation. Additional information is available at www.eng.uci.edu.

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