On February 27, Lynn Frazier, P.E., A.M.ASCE, testified on behalf of ASCE before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure about the state of the nation’s infrastructure. The hearing comes as Democrats in the House of Representatives work to put together an infrastructure package based off of their $760 billion infrastructure framework that was released last month.
The hearing entitled, Moving America’s Infrastructure Forward, focused on how small businesses will benefit from comprehensive improvements to the nation’s infrastructure systems and gave Members of Congress an opportunity to hear directly from the witnesses about the importance of investing in those infrastructure networks. To start things off, Chairman Golden (D-ME) noted, “across the U.S., years of under-investment in our infrastructure has resulted in crumbling roads, bridges in need of repair, rolling blackouts, and communities that lack access to high-speed internet.” The Chairman went on further to say that “failure to invest in our infrastructure has serious economic consequences, including lower GDP growth, lost business sales, and fewer American jobs—especially for small businesses.”
Ranking Member Stauber (R-MN) added, “the health of our nation’s infrastructure impacts of all regardless of geography or political affiliation and while our shared experience has inspired bipartisan sentiments it is time for us to take action and make desperately needed repairs and reforms.”
In her remarks, Ms. Frazier highlighted the finding of ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, the 2016 Report Card for Maine’s Infrastructure, and the Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Gap for America’s Economic Future report, emphasizing that underinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure has lead to an widening investment gap and increasing costs for American families, businesses, and GDP. Pointing to specific examples on how infrastructure investments or lack of investments have impacted Maine, Ms. Frazier was able illustrate both the positive and negative economic impacts that we are seeing throughout the country. As a result of these economic consequences, Ms. Frazier recommended that Congress adopt bipartisan infrastructure legislation that addresses the Highway Trust Fund shortfall. Specifically, ASCE recommends legislation that would increase the gas tax by 25 cents over five year, and index it to inflation; create an EV tax to account for their use of the roadways; and establish a nation pilot program to better understand a Mileage-Based User Fee.
This hearing marks the 7th time that ASCE has been asked to testify on the state of the nation’s infrastructure in the past two years. ASCE has utilized these hearings to urge Congress to adopt robust infrastructure legislation and fix the Highway Trust Fund. In two weeks, over 250 ASCE members will descend on Washington DC for the annual ASCE Fly In to meet with their Members of Congress and continue to push this message.