Surface Transportation Blueprint a Good Foundation for U.S. Transportation Systems Bill
American Society of Civil Engineers Commends Oberstar for Commitment to Infrastructure Renewal
Washington, D.C.—Congestion costs the American economy $78.2 billion a year. The number of deficient bridges in urban areas is on the rise. Nearly half of American households still do not have access to bus or rail transit. These are just some of the challenges that must be addressed in the 2009 surface transportation authorization bill.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) believes that the blueprint presented today by House Transportation and Infrastructure CommitteeChairman James Oberstar for the 2009 surface transportation bill will form a solid foundation for the future of the nation’s transportation systems, and the Society commends him for his dedication to the renewal of our critical infrastructure systems. ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure assigned the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of “D”, with roads receiving a “D-“, bridges receiving a “C”, transit receiving a “D” and rail receiving a “C-“. The report noted little improvement since the last assessment in 2005, and attributed the continual hovering of America’s infrastructure GPA just above failing to deferred maintenance, decreased funding from all levels of government and a lack of compelling national leadership, among other reasons.
“At a time when American’s are spending more than 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic and more than one in four of the nation’s bridges are deficient, it is obvious that our roads, bridges and transit systems are in desperate need of leadership and investment,” said ASCE president D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE. “ASCE believes that.” With SAFETEA-LU set to expire on September 30, the release of House Transportation and Infrastructure CommitteeChairman James Oberstar’s blueprint is a more-than-welcome beginning.”
The proposed reform and accountability provisions in Chairman Oberstar’s blueprint will set the stage for improving the way the nation’s transportation systems meet the needs of the American people and economy. In addition to the much-needed changes this proposal could provide, it is critical that Congress also take action immediately to address the shortfall in the highway trust fund (HTF). It is projected that the HTF will become insolvent by August, and the fiscal year 2009 shortfall is projected to be $5 to $7 billion. Another $8 to $10 billion is needed for fiscal year 2010.
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 146,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit www.asce.org.