Closing Remarks of Chairman Leahy on “The American Jobs Plan: Infrastructure Climate Change, and Investing in Our Nation’s Future” Hearing

Thank you to everyone – from the witnesses here today to our Committee members to the staff that helped prepare – for this meaningful hearing. I will close with this.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our roads a grade of D.  Our bridges are graded at a C.  Storm water and waste water systems are graded at D and D plus, respectively.  Drinking water systems do slightly better – a C minus.  Same with our energy grids. Our student populations have outgrown our schools.

There is near universal agreement that we must invest in broadband.  The American Society of Civil Engineers says that 65 percent of counties in America have connection speeds lower than the FCC’s definition of broadband.  One in five school aged children lack the high speed internet connections needed to access lessons and other materials.  This was brought to bear during this pandemic.

And we simply have to build – safer, stronger, sounder.  The climate crisis – long debated – is real.  More powerful storms will continue to batter our coastlines.  The increasing prevalence of “100 year floods” will continue to strain our infrastructure.  And hotter summers will strain our electrical grids.  We also have to invest in our people and in research and development.  We need to use our resources, ingenuity and intellect to build back – better.

With the American Jobs Plan, the administration has provided an important blueprint of needed and warranted investments.  Let’s hope Congress has the courage to meet the moment.

We will keep the hearing record open for a week.  If you have any written questions to submit, please do so by 5 pm next Tuesday, April 27th.  The hearing is adjourned.

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