The following is a statement by K.N. Gunalan “Guna,” Ph.D., PE, President, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act:
“We are pleased that the recently passed House COVID-19 relief bill, the HEROES Act, recognizes that the nation’s transportation and water infrastructure sectors have been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes some degree of relief for these impacted sectors.
While a good starting point, this legislation falls far short of providing the necessary relief for state Departments of Transportation (DOT) to ensure that capital projects and construction keep moving across the country. State DOTs are facing unprecedented issues from halting construction projects and discontinuing maintenance to furloughing or laying off employees, and the $15 billion allotted for state DOTs in this bill barely scratches the surface. Future relief for our states is sorely needed.
With the federal gas tax unchanged since 1993, our nation was already facing an investment gap of $1 trillion for our roads, bridges, and transit systems, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
State DOTs have called on Congress to include $50 billion as an immediate revenue backstop for them– a step that will keep our economy and the American people moving. This funding will ensure capital construction and operation programs continue in a timely fashion, preserving safety and mobility across our nation’s transportation systems.
It is critical during this time that Congress comes together on a bill that provides much-needed emergency relief for the state and local agencies managing critical infrastructure services, and for Americans relying on those services.”