America's Slow-Motion Crisis

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

Civil Engineers are more aware than most Americans of the crisis that looms with respect to our infrastructure. It’s a slow-motion crisis in part because it will inflict slow-motion on the transportation of America’s people and goods, but more because our response to it is caught in gridlock. While our investment levels over decades have lagged behind needs, the deterioration of our systems has been accumulating slowly, but we also know that when a certain point is reached, the collapse can be rapid and the results are often tragic. How are we responding? ASCE recently prepared a special report, based on the ASCE Report Cards, but also drawing on roundtable discussions by experts in a variety of fields. The talk will focus on the current state of play, particularly at the level of federal legislation and on what the civil engineering community can do to reach greater engagement by citizens and their elected representatives.


Mr. Mortimer L. Downey

Chairman of the Board, PB Consult Inc.

Mort Downey is the Chairman of the Board of PB Consult Inc. and is a distinguished leader and trusted advisor to major public agencies. Mr. Downey completed 8 years as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation and managed the department’s highly regarded strategic planning process. He also served on the President’s Management Council, as chair of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology, and as a member of the board of directors of Amtrak. For a prior administration he served as the Assistant Secretary at the Department of Transportation with significant responsibilities for matters in the international arena, including bilateral negotiations, multinational conferences and international trade and development missions. Mr. Downey also served as executive director and chief financial officer at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York, the nation's largest independent public transportation authority. During his 12 years at the MTA, he was involved in initiating the capital rebuilding of the MTA system, overseeing the financing for and programming of more than $20 billion of capital investment into its regional transportation facilities.

Registration begins at 5:30 pm; light refreshments will be provided before the lecture.

Price: Free