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Guest on The Infra Blog: Michael McArdle, Chief Development Officer, VHB

Posted by Steve Anderson on Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Mike McArdle, VHB Corporation, on The Infra BlogMike McArdle, VHB’s Chief Development Officer, has dedicated his 30-year career to improving transportation infrastructure from Maine to Florida, working alongside State DOTs and transit agencies along the east coast. He is familiar with policies, procedures, and the critical challenges facing transportation agencies today. His proactive management approach is responsive to the limited resources available to agencies, and he effectively tailors short- and long-term solutions to best meet clients’ needs. Mike is a co-author to ACEC’s sourcebook titled “P3: Public-Private Partnerships, Opportunities and Risks for Consulting Engineers.”

Infra is Investment, Not Spending
As I talk with different DOTs up and down the East Coast, they still look at it as spending money versus looking at it as an investment in our future, and that really has me concerned, especially from the political sense. This isn’t an entitlement program where the money is going out and we’re not getting any return; it’s actually vital for us to be able to sustain our economic position and also to allow us to continue to grow. And that’s where the stalemate comes. We need to see a mind-shift from spending money to investing in our future, and and I don’t see that happening.

We Can’t Wait for a New Financing Program
I commend the Administration for talking about a trillion dollars, but right now they’re only talking about putting $200 million of public money up and the rest coming from other sources in the private sector. And while there’ve been some successes of that in this country as well as overseas, I don’t think we can afford to wait for a financing program to fully mature before we make significant infrastructure investments. It has to be done now; the federal government has to recognize that they need to spend this money. They can’t continue to hold the dollars hostage going forward.

More Transparency, Better Communication and Increased Public Involvement
I believe that greater civic engagement and a larger dialogue would be helpful. I think it needs to be up-front and needs to be really robust, and the transportation agencies need to be a lot more transparent so they can build that level of trust with the public and thereby get the support that they need. And then that will allow for projects to move forward more efficiently. Lots of times when there’s not that public engagement, projects do get hung up, and you end up going back and revisiting things because the agencies weren’t as transparent as they should’ve been.

VHB: Work and Process
VHB is an East Coast firm. We have 24 offices spread up and down the East Coast, from Maine all the way down to Florida. We are engaged primarily in six markets: transportation, real estate, energy, the federal market, state and local governments, are the primary markets. We do full-service engineering, planning and environmental services. We are engaged in projects at a real local level for developers, up to projects of national significance for major DOT’s and for the federal government.

Download full transcript (PDF): Mike McArdle on The Infra Blog

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