Friday, July 08, 2011
The American Society of Civil Engineers commended the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Chairman John Mica for unveiling the Transportation Reauthorization proposal yesterday, however the organization expressed concern over the proposed funding levels.
“Today’s disappointing jobs figure underscores the need for this vital legislation to be properly funded,” said Pat Natale, executive director of ASCE. “Studies show that for every $1 billion dollars invested in infrastructure, 30,000 jobs are supported.”
Since SAFETEA-LU expired in 2009 the nation’s surface transportation programs have been forced to operate under a series of extensions, which is destructive to a system that has already received low grades in ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. In that report roads received a D-, bridges a C, transit a D, and it was estimated that it would require $1.2 trillion, from all levels of government, to bring just these three categories of the nation’s infrastructure into a state of good repair. If the nation continues to under invest in infrastructure and ignores this backlog until systems fail, we will incur even greater costs.
In order to raise the nation’s declining surface transportation grades in the Report Card the nation must be dedicated to making the investments that are required. Leveraging funds, consolidating programs, streamlining project delivery, and incorporating maritime programs are all positive programmatic reforms; however, these reforms without additional funding cannot solve the current infrastructure crisis.
The nation requires strong leadership that will incorporate the compelling programmatic reforms that have been outlined in the House Transportation Reauthorization proposal into an investment package for surface transportation that addresses the growing problem. While ASCE is sympathetic to the current economic climate, pushing off investing today’s infrastructure investments until tomorrow, will only incur even greater costs; while also setting back economic advances and job creation for future generations.
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society.