Press Release Summary:
If enacted, National Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2007 would establish National Commission on Infrastructure to address deteriorating conditions of roads, drinking water systems, dams, and other public works that support economy and quality of life. In March 2005, ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure noted downward trend in many infrastructure sectors. Overall grade of D and $1.6 trillion investment need showed 2-decade-old warning that infrastructure was in decline.
Original Press Release:
Infrastructure Improvement Bill Receives Civil Engineers' Approval
Newly Introduced Bill Would Create National Commission on Infrastructure
Reston, Va.-The American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) today applauded the introduction of the National Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2007, by Senators George V. Voinovich (R- Ohio), Thomas Carper (D - Del.), Hillary R. Clinton (D - N.Y.) and. Norm Coleman (R - Minn.). The legislation, if enacted, would establish the National Commission on Infrastructure of the United States, marking a critical step in addressing the deteriorating conditions of the roads, drinking water systems, dams and other public works that support our nation's economy and quality of life.
"From dirty water and traffic congestion to failing bridges and dams, deteriorating infrastructure is having a negative impact on public health, safety and welfare in every state, city and town in America," said ASCE President William F. Marcuson, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.M.ASCE. "Establishing a comprehensive, long-term infrastructure development and maintenance plan is long overdue, and we commend Senators Voinovich, Carper, Clinton and Coleman for their leadership in focusing attention on this critical issue."
In March 2005, ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure noted a downward trend in many infrastructure sectors; with only two of the 15 categories it assessed showing any marginal improvement. With an overall grade of D, and a $1.6 trillion investment need, the Report Card echoed a nearly two-decade-old public warning that America's infrastructure was in decline. Enactment of the National Infrastructure Improvement Act is a critical part of the Action Plan ASCE developed for the 110th Congress-which identifies 11 legislative actions the 110th Congress should take to raise the grades for America's infrastructure-that was released earlier this week.
"The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina made painfully clear the urgent need for improvements to our aging infrastructure," Sen. Voinovich said. "Our infrastructure is collapsing due to insufficient funding. And the deterioration of our nation's waterways and infrastructure systems are impacting our economy, our environment and the overall welfare of the American people. This legislation gets to the heart of the problem by establishing a commission that will provide concrete recommendations for future infrastructure needs. When enacted, this commission will lead the way in providing long-term solutions to the dire problems we currently face."
"The future health of our economy and safety of the American people requires proper maintenance of our infrastructure, whether flood control, transportation or water quality," said Sen.
Carper. "No nation can be prosperous without these fundamental building blocks. As we look for the best way to address the needs of our country with tighter and tighter budgets, we need to ensure we protect communities by properly maintaining our current infrastructure and setting targeted priorities for future investments."
"Throughout history our nation's economic strength has been inexorably linked to the investments made in our public infrastructure," said Sen. Clinton. "From the Transcontinental Railroad to the National Highway System, the public sector's investments in our roads, waterways, railways and aviation systems have built the bedrock strength of the American economy. It is time to make sure that we maintain that strong foundation. To ensure our nation's future prosperity, we need to ensure that we continue to make the right investments to rebuild and strengthen our aging infrastructure. This is a challenge we must meet head on in the greatest tradition of America."
"America's infrastructure is critical to both the development of our communities and the economic competitiveness of our domestic industries," said Sen. Coleman. "Basic infrastructure including roads, waterways, and community infrastructure are the life blood of our farmers, our businesses and our rural and urban communities. By creating a commission to address aging infrastructure, we can identify new ways to ensure the economic viability of America's for years to come."
An essential step in revitalizing the nation's weakening infrastructure, the legislation would mandate:
o Establishment of the National Commission on the Infrastructure of the United States to ensure that the nation's infrastructure meets current and future demands and facilitates economic growth;
o Completion of a study by February 2010 that will address all matters relating to the state of the nation's infrastructure, including capacity of infrastructure improvements to sustain current and anticipated economic development, the age, condition and capacity of public infrastructure, repair and maintenance needs, financing methods and investment requirements;
o Development of recommendations for a federal plan outlining infrastructure priorities; and Completion of a report to Congress by February 2010 that will detail infrastructure legislation deemed necessary for the next five, 15, 30 and 50 years.
For more information on ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure and the Infrastructure Action Plan, including local infrastructure conditi ons, state infrastructure statistics and case studies, please visit www.infrastructurereportcard.org.
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 141,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. In March 2005, ASCE released its 2005 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, with grades in 15 categories. For more information, visit www.asce.org.