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      American Society of Civil Engineers Release Priorities for Surface Transportation Authorization

      July 26, 2019

      New Website Focuses on Need to Fix the Highway Trust Fund 

      WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) today announced recommendations and priorities for federal legislation that supports comprehensive investment for the nation's surface transportation network ahead of next week's anticipated highway bill introduction in the Senate. The Society also launched its FixTheTrustFund.org website, a tool for policymakers and the public to raise awareness of the importance of increasing the 25-plus years-old federal gasoline tax to fix the Highway Trust Fund. A long-term solution to invest in the nation's surface transportation network is a key priority for ASCE.

      With the current Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act set to expire in September 2020, ASCE's priorities focus on five goals:  

      • Strengthening and expanding infrastructure investment;
      • Maximizing infrastructure effectiveness;
      • Building for the future;
      • Ensuring the safe movement of people and goods; and
      • Enhancing infrastructure delivery. 

      In addition, sustainability, resiliency and ongoing maintenance must be an integral part of improving the nation's surface transportation system. As infrastructure is built or rehabilitated, ASCE recommends that life-cycle cost analysis should be performed to account for initial construction, operation, maintenance, environmental, safety and other costs reasonably anticipated during the life of the project, such as recovery after disruption by natural or manmade hazards.

      ASCE has advocated for a user-fee approach that includes a 25-cent-per-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax over the next five years to adequately fund the nation's bridges, roads and transit systems. The current federal gasoline tax sits at 18.4 cents per gallon and has not been raised since 1993. Its purchasing power has effectively decreased by 40 percent, meaning the revenues have not kept pace with system needs. The nation's surface transportation systems are facing a funding gap of $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years with our current spending levels.

      "The continued underinvestment into our roads and bridges is hurting families and businesses," said ASCE President Robin A. Kemper, P.E. "The average American family loses $3,400 a year in disposable income due to outdated, unreliable infrastructure systems, such as poor roads and aging bridges. Imagine trying to live off the same salary as you did in 1993. It's time for Congress to identify a long-term, sustainable solution to fund the nation's surface transportation programs and I look forward to seeing meaningful action in the next few weeks." 

      The FixTheTrustFund.org website includes a full list of ASCE's priorities and recommendations for a surface transportation bill, as well as provides background on the Highway Trust Fund and the FAST Act. It also allows constituents to take action by writing to their legislators.

      The nation's infrastructure received a "D+" in ASCE's 2017 Infrastructure Report Card . In 2017, surface transportation all received near failing grades, with the exception of rail:

      • Roads received a grade of "D;"
      • Bridges received a grade of "C+;"
      • Transit received a "D-;" and
      • Rail received a grade of "B." 

      ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS

      Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit www.asce.org  and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel

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