Stephanie Johnston's Blog

  • Increasing health insurance costs

    Public sector employees are paying more for standard benefits like health and dental insurance.

     
  • Ignore abandoned utilities at your own peril

    Intersections and rights of way in the nation's biggest cities are webbed with utilities, both near the surface and deep underground.

     
  • President Obama’s second stimulus package

    In 2009, the Build America Bond program was launched to jump-start the economy via road- and water-system construction. Six year later, the Qualified Public Infrastructure Bond (QPIB) could pick up where the first stimulus package left off.

     
  • Lies, damn lies, and statistics

    Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics? I believe he was referring to the use of numbers (by politicians) to strengthen a weak argument.

     
  • Lining up resources

    An asset management program can be a potent recruiting tool that can move an operation forward.

     
  • Is asset management a load of crap?

    Before all you software, equipment, and consulting companies that serve the public works market have a fit over that question, please: Let me explain.

     
  • 600 counties violate proposed EPA ozone levels

    Ozone is another word for the haze that obscures skylines when humidity and temperature conditions are just right. You'll have three chances to comment on EPA's plan to lower the ozone air pollution standard to 65 ppb or 70 ppb by next October.

     
  • New Year 2015 and Old 2014,Render 3D. Over white background

    Eight predictions for 2015

    Editor's predictions include the weather, transportation funding, Clean Water Act, and more.

     
  • Want help with elected officials? Ask IBM

    Suffolk County, N.Y., is using the company's Smarter Cities Challenge to solve an $8 billion problem created by Hurricane Sandy: groundwater contamination. Instead of money, though, IBM donates time and expertise in a full-court press on local officials to join in.

     
  • How FHWA spends its money

    According to the General Accountability Office, most Federal Highway Administration funding goes toward improving roads and bridges (64%). That doesn't leave a lot for the many activities required to plan and build safe roadways, particularly if they're also going to be used by bicyclists and...

     
  • Winter weather forecast

    Bad news for public works departments nationwide: The next five or six months could be almost as bad as last year's polar vortex.

     
  • City made $8M 'entrapping' drivers with red-light cameras

    So far this year, Chicago has issued 77,000 tickets for red-light violations caused, say irate drivers, by laughingly brief yellow lights. The mayor says the city will refund the money, but $8 million is a lot of revenue to let go of.

     
  • Palace du Pillion

    Public works around the world

    Editor in chief Stephanie Johnston's photos of departments at work in France, Italy, and Spain.

     
  • An Infrastructure Vacation

    Assuming I can ever afford to retire, I have two travel fantasies. Both rely on sound infrastructure.

     
  • There’s more to life than a PE license

    Twenty-four professionals were recently certified as infrastructure inspectors or stormwater managers by the American Public Works Association. You don't have to be a member to take advantage of the association's educational offerings.

     
  • Saved! At least through May 31, 2015

    The Highway Trust Fund’s not going broke after all, thanks to a grudging, 11th-hour save by Congress. But pensions are being raided to make it happen.

     
  • Public works professionals as innovators

    This year's APWA Top 10 Leaders debunk the notion that government is not innovative.

     
  • Cycling kills (but you can stop it)

    I saw a billboard the other day that could only have been inspired by Chicago’s bicycling boom: A law firm offers to win damages from errant motorists for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, and disfigurement.

     
  • 5 projects vie for international engineering award

    Four of the five projects that could be the world's Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement for 2015 are in the U.S.

     
  • Curing pervious concrete: what's your take?

    A contractor and equipment owner argue over how important superabsorbant polymer (SAP) is to the future performance of pervious concrete. Who's right?

     
 
 
 
 

Blog Archive

Blog Archive

For more blogs written by Stephanie, Pam, and Michele click here.

 

Editor's Note

As Editor in Chief of Public Works, Stephanie Johnston directs the brand’s magazine, website, e-newsletters, and contributes to webcasts and other digital initiatives.

 

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