The following is a statement by Tom Smith, Executive Director, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on infrastructure investment in further COVID-19 stimulus packages:
“In this time of crisis, it is crucial that we not forget about the systems that keep our economy moving and are so critical to public health and safety, including transit, highways, ports and airports, water systems, the power grid, and more. We were pleased to see the Department of Homeland Security deem so many of these infrastructure sectors as critical services.
In the short-term, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle begin negotiations this weekend on the next round of stimulus relief, we urge them to include relief for Amtrak and transit agencies that have sustained drastic revenue losses, as well as airports, through additional funding for Airport Improvement Program capital grants. Transit agencies and airports— not just airlines— have seen dire economic consequences due to declining ridership and limited airline passengers.
In the long-term, we urge Congress to include robust, federal infrastructure investment in a stimulus package targeted to economic recovery, including a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization with a fix for the Highway Trust Fund.
Infrastructure is the backbone of the U.S. economy. It is critical to our nation’s prosperity and the public’s health and welfare. The cost of deteriorating infrastructure has already taken a toll on families’ disposable income and impacts the quality and quantity of jobs in the U.S. economy. Each household is already losing $3,400 each year in disposable income due to poor and outdated infrastructure. With Americans enduring an increasing economic burden due to the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in our infrastructure now is one way to lessen the economic burden on Americans in the long-term. These investments will help both large and small businesses and provide opportunities for Americans to get back to work. Additionally, investing in our infrastructure systems will help to keep the economy moving – and recover quickly from the economic shock associated with COVID-19.”