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January 21, 2009 - ASCE Letter - American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

January 21, 2009

Chairman David Obey                             Ranking Member Jerry Lewis
2314 Rayburn House Office Building        2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515                           Washington, DC 20515

Re: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Dear Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Lewis:

On behalf of the over 146,000 members of the American Society of Civil Engineers
(ASCE), we urge the House Committee on Appropriations to act quickly on the
“American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” While the draft legislation makes
important investments in the nation’s infrastructure this must be viewed as a first step in
rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

ASCE’s 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a
cumulative grade of D. We believe that the Committee’s stimulus package will not only
help to create and sustain the millions of jobs necessary to promote a long term national
economic recovery, but that it also represents a strong commitment towards addressing
the nation’s decaying infrastructure. Infrastructure enhances the quality of life, improves
our environment, and provides direct economic development. It is the surest way to
ensure critical repairs to our economy.

We are also pleased that many of the elements proposed in ASCE’s Principles for
Infrastructure Stimulus Investment
have been included in the measure as we believe that
the bill’s accountability standards will serve to ensure the public that their tax dollars are
being well spent and that the investments produce their desired outcomes.

While the proposed levels of investment in the following infrastructure categories are
significant, in light of the documented dire needs, the current investment gaps, and the
number of ready-to-go projects in the following categories, we urge the Committee and
the Congress to consider increased investment levels in the following areas: surface
transportation (highways, bridges, public transit); wastewater treatment systems;
drinking-water systems; waterways (locks); and dams and levees. Increased funding of
ready-to-projects in these areas will create more jobs and further promote long term
economic recovery while simultaneously helping to rebuild Americas’ infrastructure. 

Specifically, as you prepare an economic stimulus package for consideration by the
House, we strongly encourage the inclusion of $7 billion in additional funding for the
construction of water resource facilities through the Army Corps of Engineers and $2
billion for construction of water resource facilities through the Bureau of Reclamation.
These funds could be put to use over the next two years to stimulate the local and
national economies and to ensure the security and longevity of critically-important
infrastructure. Additionally we would urge the inclusion of $2 billion in additional
funding for the Airport Improvement Program to fund much needed capital improvement
projects at the nation’s airports. Finally, we would urge an increase in funding of $6
billion and $2 billion respectively for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund and
Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund.

In addition to creating jobs and promoting long term economic recovery, investment in
America’s infrastructure will serve to preserve and enhance public health, safety and
welfare. ASCE strongly supports enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act of 2009 but urges Congress to add funding for the well-documented ready-to-go
infrastructure projects.

Sincerely,

D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
President