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September 25, 2008 - ASCE Letter - urge of infrastructure spending in an economic stimulus package

September 25, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, 

On behalf of the over 140,000 members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), I strongly
urge you to include funding to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure in a second economic stimulus bill.
Allocating funding for ready-to-go projects will not only create a significant amount of jobs, but also will
serve as a meaningful down payment and demonstrate a strong commitment to address the nation’s
decaying infrastructure.

ASCE’s 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a cumulative grade
of D. Contributing to the unacceptable condition of vital infrastructure systems, is a startling lack of
investment at all levels of government. ASCE urges you to draft stimulus legislation that reflects the needs
identified in the Report Card.

Among those needs are over $50 billion a year in additional surface transportation funds, which would go
toward correcting the nearly $100 billion in lost productivity every year due to traffic congestion. As those
automobiles sit in traffic, the condition and safety of our nation’s bridges continues to worsen, costing an
estimated $140 billion to repair all bridge deficiencies. Additionally, the recent increase in fuel prices has
forced millions more Americans to use transit, which currently receives about $5 billion a year less than

Not all needs are related to transportation. Among the lowest grades on the Report Card, Wastewater and
Drinking Water both received a grade of D-, mostly due to sharp declines in federal funding. From Fiscal
year 2005 through Fiscal Year 2008, the annual appropriation for the Clean Water Act State Revolving
Loan Fund (SRF) averaged approximately $940 million—less than one percent of the demonstrated need of
$115 billion over five years. Over the same time period, Congress appropriated for the Safe Drinking Water
ACT SRF $3.36 billion—approximately five percent of the five-year need of $67 billion. A 2008 study by
the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Water Council found that one dollar of water and sewer infrastructure
investment increases Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the long term by $6.35 and adding one job in water
and sewer infrastructure creates 3.68 jobs in the national economy to support that job.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but demonstrates the significant gap between need and actual funding.
The recent passage of the Highway Trust Fund Fix infused necessary cash into the federal highway
program and saved approximately 300,000 construction-related jobs. Both the need and the benefit are
clear, the time to act to improve the nation’s infrastructure and combat troubling economic shocks is now.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Government Relations staff at 202-789-7850 if you have any questions.


David G. Mongan, P.E., F.ASCE Patrick J. Natale, P.E., F.ASCE
President Executive Director