Engineering Inc. - July/August 2003 - (Page 32)

ONE ON ONE Engineering and the Environment Bill Dee on SRF Funding, Utilities Delivery and Weathering Economic Woes equilibrium will be achieved in ure substances in ever-smaller reduce debt service for major the near future and that private quantities are driving a regula- infrastructure needs. operations will plateau at a rea- tory climate that threatens the Q. Fair Labor Standards Act sonable level while many utili- financial resources of most utili- FLSA reform is a major prior- ties and communities will elect ties. It is incumbent on the fed- ity for our industry. ACEC is to maintain control over their eral government to provide the pushing its own reform legisla- utility operations. What is most financial backing to achieve tion, S.237, and we're working important in the rhetoric these regulations as long as they with the Bush administration on around this issue is that one size are justified by good science regulatory reforms. What are does not fit all and that utilities coupled with sound judgment. your views on the administra- need to do what is right for their To this end, we are ardent sup- Bill Dee is CEO of Malcolm constituency and the public as a tion's proposed reforms, and porters of the Water Infrastruc- Pirnie in White Plains, N.Y. whole. ture Network WIN efforts to how important is it for Congress garner federal funding for clean and the administration to act on Q. How does the tight water initiatives. this issue? Q. As one of the leading budget situation affect the deci- Q. A . This is an enormously In addition to increased water and wastewater firms in sions of your clients, and what federal funding, many utilities important issue for our industry, the country, how important is it are your predictions for the are looking at alternative deliv- and I am very encouraged by the to your firm and to your clients future? ery systems and mechanisms administration's regulatory that Congress passes legislation A . The prolonged economic such as contract operations to reform proposal. Malcolm this year to increase federal recovery is impacting budgets in help meet increasingly tight Pirnie has played a leadership funding for water infrastructure? some cases but, as enterprise budgets. How do you see this role with ACEC on this issue. In A . As it was in the 1970s funds, many clients are being market progressing in the long fact, for the past decade our gen- and 1980s, it is again time to more affected by the impact of term? eral counsel, Jerry Cavaluzzi, has invest in our environmental funding limitations in other worked closely with ACEC and A . I believe that each utility infrastructure for many impor- municipal departments other Bill Kilberg of Gibson, Dunn & and community must evaluate tant reasons. These investments than their own. It is difficult for Crutcher to advocate this type how to best accomplish their are necessary to protect our envi- utility leaders to move forward of reform. I am very pleased mission of providing safe drink- ronmental future, but also they with major projects and pro- that, with the administration's ing water, protecting our receiv- can be an important part of an grams while other municipal recent publication of a proposed ing streams, and serving the economic stimulus package that services such as fire and police new set of FLSA regulations, it basic infrastructure needs of will benefit our communities. protection are being cut. As a appears we are about to achieve their customers in an environ- Investing in infrastructure pro- result, we see delays in project these goals. mentally sound and economi- vides renewable jobs, improves starts in some cases, and exten- If it is enacted in the same or cally viable manner. Different communities, and provides a sions of project implementation similar form, as I believe it will project delivery systems will be platform to support economic schedules in others. However, be, the goals of the ACEC legis- appropriate for each community growth. It is not unlike the the pent-up need for important lation, which relate specifically based on their individual cir- investment in the interstate projects to move forward is ever to certain construction, engi- cumstances, considering issues highway system that was made increasing and this will fuel sig- neering, and design profession- such as size, financing, and in the 1950s and 1960s that nificant project activity as the als, will be largely accomplished. workforce impacts among oth- proved to be an extraordinary economic pressure begins to Of course, S. 237 would provide ers. We see some communities economic stimulus for the coun- lessen. In addition, current more certainty as to the status of moving to contract operations, try. financing terms are attractive, those particular jobs, and Con- while others are reconsidering Advances in technology and with interest rates at 40-year gressional action on that front this approach. We believe that our increasing ability to meas- lows providing opportunities to also would be welcome. l August 2003 3 2 ENGINEERING INC. J u l y

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Engineering Inc. - July/August 2003