The following is a statement by Robin A. Kemper, PE, President, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on President Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress on February 5, 2019:
“We appreciate that the President identified infrastructure as one of his top priorities for legislative action this year, and indicated that it is not an option, but a necessity. Infrastructure plays a vital role in the safety and well-being of every American, and ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card gave the nation a dismal D+ across sixteen categories.”
“It is no surprise that 79 percent of Americans say it is extremely important to increase spending on our nation’s infrastructure. Infrastructure legislation must be at the top of the list for the 116th Congress. The American people are counting on them to work together to identify funding to modernize America’s infrastructure.
ASCE believes that a bipartisan infrastructure bill should address the following priorities:
- Fix the Highway Trust Fund to modernize our nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems.
- Eliminate the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge to modernize our nation’s airports.
- Put trust in the Harbor Maintenance Trust fund by fully appropriating the Harbor Maintenance Tax collections each year.”
“We have continued to underinvest for far too long, and an infrastructure bill is overdue. In order to raise our grade from a D+ to an acceptable level, we need to fill a $2 trillion deficit over the next decade. Failing to invest in and modernize our infrastructure is continuously putting strains on our families and the economy. Deficient bridges, congested highways, outdated transit systems, an unreliable electric grid and leaky water pipes cost the average American family $3,400 a year—which is $9 a day—in disposable income.
Any infrastructure legislation should provide substantial and long-term benefits to the economy, consider the cost of a project over its lifespan and be built with a focus on resilience and sustainability to maximize the investment. It is time Congress and the President get this done for American families. Today, ASCE urges the 116th Congress to make modernizing the nation’s infrastructure the number one priority in 2019 by developing and passing infrastructure investment legislation.”