WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 27, 2009 -- The head of the nation's largest engineering industry trade association says Congress and the Administration could launch a potent economic recovery program now, simply by passing major infrastructure initiatives that are currently awaiting consideration in Congress.
David A. Raymond, president and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), says that quick passage of the regular surface transportation program, together with water and aviation infrastructure legislation awaiting final action in the House and Senate, would quickly create hundreds of thousands of jobs and stimulate substantial economic growth.
"We know that major investments in transportation and environmental infrastructure create jobs in the short-term and facilitate economic growth over the long-term," said Raymond. "Congress has three major pieces of legislation pending right now that could form the backbone of an economic recovery. The key is to act on them now."
The surface transportation bill introduced by Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Rep. John Mica (R-FL) would invest $500 billion over six years in the nation's roads and public transportation systems. The full Senate is poised to consider legislation (S. 1005) that would pump nearly $40 billion over four years to protect drinking water supplies and improve wastewater treatment systems. Similar legislation has already cleared the House of Representatives (HR 1262). Legislation to enhance the nation's airports and air traffic control systems (HR 915) has passed the House and could see final action in the Senate before the end of the year.
Infrastructure funding is a powerful job creator. According to the Federal Highway Administration, $1 billion in federal funds spent on transportation infrastructure generates 34,000 jobs. In the water sector, a $1 billion investment yields 28,000 jobs. And increased aviation funding will similarly support thousands of jobs in the near term and help advance capacity-expansion projects to reduce airline delays and improve aviation safety.
"Taken together, these initiatives represent a dynamic approach for getting America back on its feet," said Raymond. "Congress and the President should recognize these initiatives for what they are -- a solid economic recovery agenda that will put Americans back to work."
The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the business association of America's engineering industry, representing approximately 5,700 independent engineering companies throughout the United States engaged in the development of America's transportation, environmental, industrial, and other infrastructure. Founded in 1909 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACEC is a national federation of 51 state and regional organizations.