The following is a statement by Tom Smith, executive director, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE):
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is encouraged that infrastructure remains at the top of the priority list as part of President Biden’s first joint address to Congress. Infrastructure is the backbone of the American economy and key to healthy, prosperous and resilient communities. The priorities laid out in last week’s address and detailed in President Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan, in addition to the GOP’s recently proposed infrastructure framework, indicate that the Biden administration and members of Congress are ready to work together on much-needed bipartisan infrastructure legislation to jumpstart our nation’s economic recovery.
ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found the nation earned a C-, up from 2017’s cumulative GPA of D+. However, progress has been incremental and 11 of the 17 categories received scores in the D range, demonstrating that much work needs to be done to modernize the overall infrastructure network and position our nation for the future. In 2021 alone, we have seen power outages displace Texans and drinking water infrastructure fail Mississippians. America is in dire need of a bipartisan solution to these issues.
We are at a critical moment in time and have before us a historic opportunity for bipartisan legislation that can modernize our surface transportation network, safeguard drinking water systems, repair high-hazard dams, connect the grid to renewables, and prepare communities to be more resilient in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
With momentum building toward significant, impactful infrastructure legislation, ASCE believes it is paramount that the Biden administration and members of Congress continue to advance the infrastructure components of an economic recovery package until a bill is finalized. Congress must not miss the opportunity to deliver on legislation that could generate jobs, keep Americans safe and guide the nation toward economic recovery.