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June 14, 2007 - ASCE Letter - Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation Act 2007

June 14, 2007

The Hon. James Oberstar                         The Hon. John Mica
Chairman                                                 Ranking Member
House Committee on Transportation          House Committee on Transportation 
      and Infrastructure                                     and Infrastructure
Washington, D.C. 20515                           Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman: Dear Congressman Mica:

I am writing on behalf of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to
support passage of the Transportation Energy Security and Climate Change
Mitigation Act of 2007 that is to be marked up by the Committee today.

We support the provisions in section 101 (creating a Center for Climate Change
and Environment in the Department of Transportation); section 302 (to provide
capital grants to rehabilitate railroad track); sections 601-602 (establishing
requirements for energy efficiency in public buildings and strengthening the use
of life-cycle cost analyses); sections 701-705 (establishing a federal program for
water resources management and preparedness, including a study of
hydropower as a means to reducing the use of fossil fuels); and section 731
(requiring FEMA to study the potential for climate change to affect natural
disaster preparedness).

We do think, however, that the Committee should reconsider the language in
sections 202 and 251, which increases the federal cost share for urban area
formula grants for public transportation and the federal cost share for congestion
mitigation and air quality improvement programs. ASCE believes that the states
need to share in the cost of these important programs to ensure their continued
support for vital infrastructure and environmental programs.

ASCE supports the establishment of a “21st Century Water Commission” whose
aim would be to direct federal efforts toward understanding the impacts of climate
change on U.S. water resources, preventing the unwise use of floodplains, and
avoiding the destruction of wetlands.

ASCE supports protection of natural floodplains and the concept of building
disaster-resistant communities. We encourage governments at all levels to
adopt practical floodplain management policies, and we support creative
partnering between federal, state, and local governments to fund the design and
implementation of floodplain management policies and flood mitigation projects.
ASCE also supports the development of federal, state, and local policies and
programs that balance protection of wetlands and their inherent benefits with
other important economic and social needs of the country.

America needs expanded use of public transportation, including urban masstransit
systems and commuter rail systems. Properly managed public-transit
systems have demonstrated their value in reducing the dependence upon the
automobile as the primary transportation mode in urban areas. Establishing an
effective public-transportation system improves our ability to control traffic
congestion, enhance mobility, lessen pollution and other environmental affects,
improve safety, and reduce energy demands.

Finally, ASCE supports the bill’s overall goal of strengthening the nation’s energy
security while mitigating the effects of climate change by furthering energy
efficiency in transportation and public buildings. We also support efforts to
ensure sound management of the nation’s water resources.

If ASCE can be of any assistance in securing enactment of the Transportation
Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation Act of 2007, please do not
hesitate to contact us at (202) 789-7842 or by email at bpallasch@asce.org.

Sincerely yours,

Brian T. Pallasch, CAE
Director, Government Relations