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September 9, 2010 - ASCE Letter - Support of Infrastructure Investment

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September 9, 2010 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                         The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker                                                      Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives                     U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515                              Washington, D.C., 20515

Dear Madam Speaker:                                  Dear Representative Boehner:

On behalf of the 144,000 members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) I am pleased to hear of President Obama’s recent proposal to invest $50 billion to rehabilitate the nation’s transportation infrastructure and improve our economic competiveness. As stewards of the nation’s infrastructure, civil engineers know firsthand the stimulative effects of infrastructure investment as well as the need to improve the failing condition of infrastructure across the country.

In 2009, ASCE graded the nation’s infrastructure at a D and estimated that it would require $2.2 trillion invested over five years to improve conditions. While the president’s proposal would not solve all of the nation’s infrastructure problems, immediate action will lay the groundwork for continued success.

Without speculating on the details of the president’s plan, there are a few actions Congress can take before adjourning to jump-start job growth through infrastructure. Passage of the following legislation will result in increased economic activity and competiveness and improved employment in the engineering and construction sectors:
• A full six-year authorization of the federal surface transportation programs, including an increase in a dedicated, user-generated funding stream;
• Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration to begin work on critical updates to the nation’s aviation system (H.R. 915/S. 1451);
• Water Resources Development Act that includes a robust Levee Safety program (H.R. 5892);
• Reauthorization of Clean and Safe Drinking Water Acts to increase federal investment in water infrastructure; (H.R. 1262 & H.R. 5320/ S. 1005); and
• Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act, to create a program in the Federal Emergency Management Administration to provide funding to locally-owned, deficient dams (H.R. 1770/S. 732).

While the nation’s infrastructure deficit is vast and these legislative proposals are not the complete solution to the problem, they are an important first step. Action on the above legislationwill help to raise the poor infrastructure grades in nine of the 15 categories graded on the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

ASCE and its members are committed to improving the nation’s health, welfare and public safety through improving infrastructure. We stand ready to assist you in developing policy that will solve the twin problems of unemployment and failing infrastructure.

We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to pass these important pieces of legislation. For more information, please contact Brian Pallasch, managing director, government relations and infrastructure initiatives at 202-789-7842 or bpallash@asce.org

Sincerely,

Blaine D. Leonard, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE
President