responsible stewardship of the nation's aging Infrastructure
Last Modified 21 August 2010
The Need for Accountability
Everyone knows that public and private infrastructures are comprised of durable assets that contribute to the effective and safe performance of an organization’s mission and goals. However, the relationship of infrastructure to missions is seldom recognized adequately in strategic planning, budgeting, and allocating processes. Additionally, proposed infrastructure maintenance and repair (M&R) expenditures generally have less visible or less measurable benefits than operating and social programs, and infrastructure managers have found it difficult to make compelling arguments to justify infrastructure M&R spending to public officials, senior organization executives, and financial managers. Furthermore, public and private organization processes and practices are not structured to provide for accountability for responsible infrastructure stewardship.
Consequently, budgetary pressures on top decision makers, coupled with lack of counter incentives, encourage them to divert potential infrastructure M&R funds to support operations, meet legislative requirements, and feed social causes. Likewise, facility managers strapped by “insufficient funds” for infrastructure maintenance and repair also tend to spend the scarce resource on visible, immediate, and more measurable needs. And since organizational processes and processes tend to mask the effects of unaccomplished repairs, aging infrastructure continues to deteriorate until mission and safety issues become too visible and immediate to continue deferring.