Civil engineers challenge 110th Congress to raise grades on failing U.S. infrastructure
The American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) most recent Report Card for America's Infrastructure assessed our critical foundations at an overall grade of D. In response to this fundamental need, ASCE and its members will this week deliver an Infrastructure Action Plan to the 110th Congress. Among the points it calls for are enactment of the National Infrastructure Improvement Act and Water Resources Development Act and a boost in funding for the CWSRF and DWSRF...
WASHINGTON, DC, March 7, 2007 -- From long commutes and dirty water to unsafe dams and bridges, with each passing day failing infrastructure is threatening the economy and quality of life in every state, city and town in America. Seven people were killed in Hawaii when an earthen dam failed, unleashing nearly 300 million gallons of water. A clogged sewer line caused a sink hole in Portland, OR -- which swallowed a truck that had been sent to clean the sewer. In St. Louis, a highway bridge collapsed, injuring a 16-year-old driver. Each year, congestion on Atlanta's roads costs the individual commuter 67 hours in wasted time.
Unfortunately, these are only a few examples of the impact deteriorating infrastructure is having on public health, safety and welfare. The American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) most recent Report Card for America's Infrastructure assessed our critical foundations at an overall grade of D. In response to this fundamental need, ASCE and its members will this week deliver an Infrastructure Action Plan to the 110th Congress.
"Establishing a long-term plan for the country's infrastructure must become a national priority, but in the short term, there are realistic and immediate steps that must be taken," said ASCE president William F. Marcuson III, P.E., Ph.D., Hon.M.ASCE. "By passing legislation introduced but not enacted by the previous Congress, our current leaders can make protecting public health, safety and welfare a top priority."
Civil engineers from across the country will deliver this plan -- which identifies 11 legislative actions the 110th Congress should take to raise the grades for America's infrastructure -- to their respective members of Congress on March 7 as a part of ASCE's annual Legislative Fly-In Program.
ASCE members will gather in Washington, DC, to educate their Representatives and Senators on the critical civil engineering-related issues pending in Congress.
The Action Plan steps are:
-- Enact the National Infrastructure Improvement Act to establish the National Commission on Infrastructure of the United States;
-- Reauthorize funding for the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and enact an increase in user fees as necessary for continued funding of the Airport Improvement Program;
-- Fully fund surface transportation programs authorized under SAFETEA-LU;
-- Use all funds that accumulate in the Highway Trust Fund to invest in the nation's surface transportation program;
-- Reauthorize the Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act of 2002 in order to provide continued federal funding for the redevelopment of brownfields sites;
-- Enact the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act (H.R. 1098) to address the most critical non-federal public dams;
-- Enact a national levee safety program, including a nationwide inventory of levees and mandatory inspection requirements;
-- Enact the Water Quality Financing Act of 2007 (H.R. 720) to provide vitally needed federal aid through the State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) program;
-- Authorize $1 billion in annual funding for the Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF);
-- Enact a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that requires a more comprehensive approach to water resources projects constructed by the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers; and
-- Ensure the integrity of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
ASCE estimates that the United States needs to invest $1.6 trillion in federal, state and local funds over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to a good condition -- one that meets the needs of our current population. Much of the needed funding is already allocated in existing budgets -- only about one-third of the total investment needed will be new funding. However, the $1.6 trillion does not account for future population growth.
Additional information on ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure and the Infrastructure Action Plan can be found at www.infrastructurereportcard.org
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (www.asce.org) represents more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society.
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