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Public infrastructure leads the way in construction industry

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Each week seems to bring more discouraging news concerning the economy and construction industry: foreclosures are at an all-time high, the mortgage crisis has tightened dollars for borrowers, home sales are the slowest in 25 years, oil prices are at record highs, the dollar is continuing to weaken and the number of construction permits is the lowest in nearly a decade. So what is positive these days in the construction industry? Just look a little deeper and you will find that public infrastructure projects are leading the way.

Each and every day we use or are surrounded by public infrastructure. The roads we drive on, the sidewalks we walk on, the parks we play in and the water we drink are all examples of public infrastructure. This infrastructure for the most part is transparent, but vital to our way of life in our communities. New infrastructure is required not only for growing communities, but also for established communities as public agencies face an escalating need for the replacement of aging infrastructure.

As the number of these projects increases each year, local public agencies are obtaining more funding for public infrastructure projects. SANDAG estimates that $14 billion will be generated over the next 40 years through TransNet, the county's half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. Earlier this year the San Diego region was awarded more than $450 million from the statewide transportation bond for Caltrans projects.

Other regional agencies have plans to improve the local public infrastructure: the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) is planning to increase water storage and capacity and to improve the existing water infrastructure throughout the region; the city of San Diego is beginning to improve its infrastructure, with construction beginning on a number of projects and the hope that more will be on the way following the impending issuance of bonds. This increased infrastructure funding will require the construction industry to focus its attention on public infrastructure projects. One firm with a 53-year history in public infrastructure projects is Rick Engineering Co. Our company recently completed or has under design many projects for local public agencies including Caltrans, the county of San Diego, the city of San Diego, and SDCWA. Highway projects completed by the Transportation Division of Rick Engineering Co. include: the SR-54 and 94 improvements with the county of San Diego and Caltrans; the South Bay Expressway, a public/private partnership; and the I-805 Mira Mesa Boulevard Interchange Project Study Report for the city of San Diego and Caltrans.

Our Landscape Architecture division is involved in the design and development of turf conversions for joint use facilities with the city of San Diego. Construction has been completed on the Sweetwater Little League Facility and will soon start on Sweetwater Summit Camp Grounds for the county.

Recently, Rick Engineering Co. began working with the SDCWA on the preliminary design of a new aqueduct to supply water from the Metropolitan Water District. And we have recently completed civil engineering contracts for Sewer and Water Group jobs throughout San Diego for the city, and for the design for a recycled water line in Carmel Valley Road.

Through its 53-year history, Rick Engineering Co. has built strong working relationships with dozens of agencies in the region. We recognize the importance of public infrastructure projects, and have the comprehensive history, experience and expertise to provide civil engineering, planning, surveying, photogrammetry, transportation and traffic engineering, landscape architecture, water resources engineering, GIS services, legal support and construction management services for the public agency sector.

As 2008 approaches its midpoint, public infrastructure projects lead the way in the construction industry. Rick Engineering Co. will also continue to lead the way, because "RICK Gets It Right!"

Submitted by Kevin Gibson, P.E., an associate with Rick Engineering Co.

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