Launch Slideshow

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Borrowing Goes Bust

Borrowing Goes Bust

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    Tight credit is prompting many departments to postpone new projects and temporarily suspend others.

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    From left: Hoa Nguyen, Melika Roshandell, Jan Kleissl (assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering), Anthony Dominguez, Michael Sankur, Mandana Farhadieh, and Yoichi Shiga. Not pictured: Wen-Han Liu, Samer Naif, Andrea Tan, Roger Huang, Anders Nottrot, Hared Ochoa, and Long Sun. Photo: Dong Kim, UC San Diego

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Michael Bloomberg

If it weren't for the economy, New York City's mayor would be gracing this month's cover. In addition to launching Building America's Future, a coalition of political heavy-hitters that's urging the federal government to spur economic growth through infrastructure investment, he's one of the nation's “green mayors.” He's pushing a citywide initiative to restore the city's water, sewer, and paved infrastructure while promising to improve service using a quantitative program called “MayorStat.” One initiative sends “scouts” into the field to find out how quickly potholes are repaired.

Theresa Bernhardt

Waging a 10-year campaign to remove 90,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from local waterways isn't enough for this Michigan resident. This year's EPA President's Volunteer Service Award recipient has now enlisted local students in efforts to continue restoring the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern.


Nicole Blute

The senior project engineer with Malcolm Pirnie Inc. is leading a Glendale, Calif., project that is the first of its kind to identify treatment technologies capable of removing cancer-causing hexavalent chromium to ultra-low concentrations. Glendale's groundwater supplies are in danger of rising chromium levels within the next few years due to the migration of groundwater plumes.



Boston's ‘Big Dig'

The Big Dig earns a berth on our list for the second consecutive year as a prime example of what's happening to the nation's — and the world's — financial markets, and why. Interest on debt Massachusetts assumed to finance the project brings its final price tag to $22 billion, according to a Boston Globe analysis, that won't be paid off until 2038. Even after raising tolls and cutting maintenance, the state spends 38% of its highway budget — compared to a national median of 6% — on debt payments.

Pam Broviak

The LaSalle, Ill., public works director and city engineer created the world's first virtual-reality public works resource center, demonstrating how the Internet-based world Second Life can be used as a learning and networking tool as well as a platform to test designs before implementing them in real life.

Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the Government of Canada's unprecedented “Building Canada,” a $33 billion, seven-year plan that provides more funding for provincial, territorial, and municipal infrastructure and for a longer period of time than any Canadian federal program since World War II.

City Councils of Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Both city councils designated street sweepers as parking enforcers on street-sweeping routes last summer. Video cameras were mounted on select street sweepers to record license plate data from illegally parked vehicles through image verification.

Andres Clarens and Lisa Colosi

The environmental engineering professors at the University of Virginia hope to increase algae oil yields by feeding the algae extra carbon dioxide and organic material such as biosolids. If the project is successful, it could prove helpful removing nitrogen from wastewater.