With the start of summer, Congress is eyeing a long recess and construction season is in full swing, drawing increased attention to our surface transportation and water infrastructure needs.
It is no secret to the American public that our infrastructure greatly needs TLC. That is why states like New Jersey are fighting so hard to get a transportation budget passed that would increase the state gas tax and provide a 10-year, $20 billion plan to invest in roads, bridges, rail and other infrastructure. It also explains why states like Wisconsin, Illinois and Tennessee are lamenting their lack of funding for much needed infrastructure improvement projects. Even in our nation’s capital, the subway system is undergoing tedious maintenance and the iconic Memorial Bridge is facing potential closure in five years due to increased vulnerability and lack of maintenance, and not enough funding to fix it.
On a more positive note, there are many states that are making steps toward not only funding their infrastructure but advancing and innovating their cities. In fact, the city of Columbus, Ohio, recently beat out 77 other cities to win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City challenge, which awarded them $40 million to kick off new transportation strategies. ASCE’s Gamechangers report lists a myriad of inspirational, innovative infrastructure accomplishments that remind us what can be accomplished when we make the investment.
Speaking of moving forward, remind your Senators to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA; S.2848) before they recess for the summer, which would authorize funding for our nation’s flood control, navigation and ecosystem restoration projects. Because water infrastructure is so critical to our nation’s health and prosperity, passing this legislation would be a great step forward in preserving our water resources and more than 90 groups came together this week to share that sentiment with the Senate via a letter.