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September 7, 2011
Senator Barbara Boxer Senator James Inhofe
Chairman Ranking Member
Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Senate Environment & Public Works Committee
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C, 20515
Dear Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe:
The American Society of Civil Engineers strongly supports a clean extension of federal highway and transit programs at current funding levels through January 31, 2012. While a new multi-year surface transportation authorization is worked on in the Senate, it is necessary for Congress to pass another extension in order to keep the program running and avoid jeopardizing the continuity of highway and transit programs.
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.
Furthermore in a report released in July, ASCE assessed the long term economic impacts of America’s failing transportation infrastructure. If investments in surface transportation aren’t made in conjunction with significant policy reforms, families will have a lower standard of living, businesses will be paying more and producing less and our nation will lose ground in a global economy. The nation’s deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs, and suppress the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $897 billion in 2020.
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. Therefore, while the nation awaits new legislation Congress must pass a clean extension to fund surface transportation at current funding levels through January 2012.
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. The proposed extension would maintain continuity in the federal highway and public transportation programs while a transformative multi-year bill is finalized. We strongly support your work to pass legislation that extends surface transportation programs through January 31, 2012.
Brian T. Pallasch
Managing Director of Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives