Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Orange County’s infrastructure is one of the most important components contributing to our healthy communities and quality of life. Our infrastructure is aging, and as the backbone of our local civilization, it continuously must bear the burden of our population’s use and increasing needs. Orange County, like our nation, is racing against time to keep up with the need for infrastructure. Concurrently it is competing for the financial resources to sustain the world, our nation and our state.
Eight years ago, through the efforts of the UC Irvine CEE Affiliates and ASCE, Orange County became the first county in California to release a comprehensive Infrastructure Report Card. The report card received local and national media coverage and helped focus needed attention on the condition of our infrastructure. One of the main reasons for this level of attention was that the overall Grade Point Average for Orange County’s infrastructure was a “C”. This was not consistent with the overall image and high quality of life we associate with Orange County. The 2005 report card showed some improvement in Aviation, School Facilities, Transportation and Urban Runoff/Flood Control. The overall grade point average for Orange County’s infrastructure went up from a “C” to a “C+” in 2005. This still conveyed a powerful message that even one of the most affluent, desirable places to live in the world is not immune to the effects of deteriorating infrastructure.
Last year, we began a process of reviewing and updating the work that was done on the 2005 Orange County Infrastructure Report Card. We were fortunate to be able to gather many of the same dedicated individuals, as well as some new and energetic industry professionals, to work together to complete the 2010 report card. The result of their dedication and hard work is the updated 2010 edition, released in March of 2010. Energy and Surface Water Quality have been added as important elements of our nfrastructure since the last report card in 2005. We have earned an overall GPA of “C+” for 2010, on even par with our 2005 GPA.
Developing the report card is only a first step in highlighting the importance of infrastructure construction and maintenance. As you will see in this report card, the grades are still not all good. Much work needs to be done county-wide to improve the grades and maintain our quality of life in Orange County. Over the next 20 years, growth is expected in Orange County. As we transition from a suburban county to an urban county, the main burden we bear will be upon our infrastructure.
Regardless of economic conditions, it is the responsibility of our engineering community as well as every citizen to understand and work toward improvement. Educating our public on the importance of infrastructure maintenance, encouraging our colleagues in the public sector to continue to seek infrastructure funding and actively communicating to our elected officials the important role that infrastructure plays in our lives are the first and foremost steps to success. The importance of infrastructure in our lives cannot be underestimated. It is key to our quality of life and healthy communities.
Cindy Miller, P.E.
UC Irvine Civil & Environmental Engineering Affiliate
2010 Orange County Report Card [Full Report]
2010 Orange County Report Card [Issues Briefs]