Politics, Hubris and Energy Security
In 2010, the History and Heritage Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Hoover Dam. In its time, the dam was the most ambitious infrastructure project in the United States and it ushered in an age of federal megaproject development. Among most engineers and historians, Hoover Dam was a resounding success. Despite enormous technical, physical and managerial challenges, the dam was completed two years ahead of schedule and within budget. By all measures, it was a model of megaproject management. Federal financing was secured through long-term power purchase agreements. Long before the dam was in operation, all the interested parties agreed to a plan to divide the revenue and benefits, including water and power products. During construction, the private contractor and the major governmental agency involved (the Federal Bureau of Reclamation) enjoyed a mutually constructive relationship.