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March 1, 2011 - ASCE Letter - extension of SAFETEA-LU thru September 30, 011

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March 1, 2011

The Honorable Harry Reid                             The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader, U.S. Senate                        Minority Leader, U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515                               Washington, D.C. 20515 

The Honorable John Boehner                         The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives        Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510                               Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Minority Leader Pelosi:

The American Society of Civil Engineers strongly urges Congress to pass H.R. 662, the “Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011”, that would extend federal highway and transit programs through the end of fiscal year 2011. While Congress works on a new multi-year surface transportation authorization, it necessary for both the House and the Senate to pass H.R. 662 before the current extension expires on March 4th. The legislation allows SAFETEA-LU programs to continue running and avoids jeopardizing the continuity of highway and transit programs, making the predictability of a long term extension beneficial.

The nation’s highway and transit network is facing an ever growing amount of challenges. ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure graded Roads at a “D -“, Transit at a “D”, and Bridges at a “C”. Additionally, ASCE estimates that it will require a five year investment of $1.2 trillion to bring just these three transportation categories up to an acceptable condition.

With the uncertainty created by the lack of a multi-year surface transportation authorization a slowdown in transportation development will continue, impacting both the economy and the status of the nation’s current transportation systems. Transportation investments have historically proven themselves an effective tool in keeping Americans employed while building the state of the art infrastructure that this nation was once famous for. While continuing a series of extensions does not provide a long term solution to unemployment and the infrastructure crisis, it does provide job opportunities while the sector awaits another much needed long-term surface transportation bill.

To prevent further job losses in the engineering and construction sector and to ensure that vital transportation investments continue, ASCE urges Congress to support legislation that contains an extension of surface transportation programs through September 30, 2011. The proposed extension would maintain continuity in the federal highway and public transportation programs while a transformative multi-year bill is finalized.

Thank you for your consideration of these views.


Patrick J. Natale, P.E, CAE, F.ASCE
Executive Director