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March 15, 2013
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  • First details of Calif.'s $23B water plan released
    Source: KGO-TV
    The first four chapters of California's $23 billion plan that includes construction of two tunnels to distribute water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to cities and farmlands have been released by the California Resources Agency. The documents include a description of the proposed 35-mile twin-tunnel project that would cost $14 billion. "This plan isn't about waging war," said Mark Cowin, director of the California Department of Water Resources. "It's about resolving some of the most critical resource conflicts in California." KGO-TV (San Francisco)/The Associated Press (3/14), The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (free registration) (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  Infrastructure Watch 
  • XpressWest'S $5.5B HSR loan request questioned by GOP lawmakers
    A request for a $5.5 billion federal loan for the XpressWest high-speed rail project between Victorville, Calif., and Las Vegas is facing scrutiny from Republican lawmakers in Congress. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., say that the Transportation Department should reject the loan due to the project's "costly, wasteful and risky" nature. However, the two overlook the project's benefits as it would relieve road congestion and create 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, said XpressWest CEO Anthony Marnell. (3/13), San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) (free registration)/The Associated Press (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Initial proposals received for $3.6B airport project in NYC
    Five prequalifying bids have been submitted to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the $3.6 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport's central terminal. The project, which includes construction of a new terminal and infrastructure, is expected to begin in early 2014. The Port Authority is reviewing the bids. Reuters (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Wacker raises investment in Tenn. polysilicon plant to $2B
    Wacker Chemical has increased its investment for its plant under construction in Tennessee by $200 million, bringing the total investment up to $2 billion. Roughly 1,000 construction workers are on site building the massive facility that will produce more than 20,000 metric tons of polysilicon -- an essential component in making solar panels -- per year. Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tenn.) (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Calif. port spends $1B for rail capacity expansion, upgrades
    A $1 billion expansion and development program for on-dock rail facilities at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., is under way. The goal is to help the port keep up with its competitors such as the Port of Prince Rupert in Canada and the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas in Mexico, said J. Christopher Lytle, Port of Long Beach executive director. DC Velocity online (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  Sustainable Development 
  • Tech firms plan ultra-green Silicon Valley offices
    Facebook, Google, Samsung Electronics and Nvidia are following in Apple's footsteps with plans for ultra-green sustainable campuses in California's Silicon Valley. Apple's Cupertino headquarters is expected to be self-sufficient through solar panels and fuel cells, while Facebook wants its Menlo Park campus extension to have a park-like roof dotted with mature oak trees. All the plans "share an eco-consciousness that could become the most distinctive feature of this new West Coast aesthetic," writes Peter Burrows. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Climate-related risks spur federal agencies to action
    The Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies are taking initiatives to address risks tied to climate change, according to this article. The Corps of Engineers, for instance, is constructing new dams, levees, buildings and other infrastructure designed to withstand rising lea levels and more extreme weather events. "If you get the processes into the bones of the organization, you can weather out the political climate," said William Goran of the Corps of Engineers' Center for the Advancement of Sustainability Innovations. Roll Call (free content) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • Engineers seeing more traditional, new opportunities
    Job opportunities in engineering are increasing in industries across the economic sector. New construction and the need to upgrade aging infrastructure in the U.S. are fueling the demand for more civil engineers. "They're looking at gas pipelines, water, waste water, buildings -- making sure they all stay safe during [catastrophic weather] events," said Dan Wittliff, president of the National Society of Professional Engineers. U.S. News & World Report (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  News from ASCE 
  • Look ahead to ASCE's 2013 Annual Conference at official website
    Bookmark the website for ASCE’s 143rd Annual Civil Engineering Conference and keep up to date on new information as it's updated. The site features exclusive content, news, and information on all of your Annual Conference needs. Explore today to get detailed background on the destination, hotel, and this year's conference theme, Civil Engineers -- The Foundation of the Nation. Visit and bookmark now and start planning your October trip to Charlotte! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: New York’s East 180th Street Station Renovation Complete
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    New York City Transit has restored a historically important administration building and adjoining East 180th Street Station in a way that preserves the character of the two structures. See how it was done, then explore more fascinating articles at

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Adventure is not outside man; it is within."
--George Eliot,
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