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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Judith Mueller

Thanks to this public works director's 2003 draft of Charlottesville, N.C.'s first-ever Environmental Sustainability Policy, the city adopted the Charlottesville City Council Vision – 2025 last year, which describes Charlottesville as a “Green City,” complete with a vibrant urban forest, tree-lined streets, and lush green neighborhoods. Under Mueller's leadership, the Department of Public Works became the lead agency in driving environmental sustainability into every aspect of city government operations.

Heather Nachtmann

The director of the University of Arkansas-based Mack-Blackwell Rural Transportation Center and a team of researchers concluded that risk-based urban transportation assessments can't simply be applied for rural transportation assets. Her team provided rural networks with a tool to create risk assessments of their infrastructure assets.

Mary Peters

The U.S. Transportation Secretary and former director of the Arizona DOT receives the American Public Works Association's 2008 Presidential Leadership Award for being a “tireless advocate for the nation's infrastructure.”

Oil

As prices crept toward a record $147.27/barrel in August, asphalt and fuel costs took a bite out of operations budgets nationwide.

Residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The second-snowiest winter gave way to an unusually rainy spring, setting the stage for the worst flooding in the city's history. More than 600 residents answered the city's televised pleas for help within 45 minutes. They lined up four deep and 100 yards long to place 10,000 sandbags and save the city's drinking water system.

Lance Santo

The Hawaii Agriculture Research Center agronomist is working with Air New Zealand and Boeing Co. to develop a strain of the jatropha tree that may lessen the airline industry's — and, presumably, the world's — dependence on crude oil. Used for years in South America for medicinal purposes, the jatropha tree produces golf-ball sized fruit whose oil may be used in standard diesel engines. The oil does not require processing and the tree, which grows in soil not suitable for most food crops, can survive droughts. The tree is being tested in Florida and Hawaii for its effectiveness as a viable alternative biofuel.

Sam Schwartz

Schwartz created (and currently heads), the New York City Bridge Centennial Commission. This commission, whose members include the New York City DOT Commissioner, promotes the value of civil engineering by publicizing New York's structural engineering accomplishments over the last century. In January, in conjunction with New York University, he gathered representatives of the U.S. presidential candidates to discuss transportation and infrastructure issues.

Elizabeth Royte

In Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, the author explores how bottled water became a $60 billion/year industry when public supplies are safe, less expensive, and far more environmentally friendly.

John Simpson

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher developed a material that is easy to fabricate, uses inexpensive base materials, and can lead to the creation of a new class of water-repellant products, including windshields, eyewear, clothing, building materials, road surfaces, and self-cleaning coatings. The nano-structured glass powder coating causes water-based solutions to bounce off virtually any treated surface.

Peter Sellers

The public works director is reactivating Framingham, Mass.' standby groundwater sources for full-time use to minimize the town's reliance on wholesale drinking water. The resulting $1 million/year savings will support a long-term capital program to improve the town's sewer system. Construction began in October and the groundwater sources will be available within two years.