Leahy Statement On The ASCE Infrastructure Report Card

. . . ‘Infrastructure Investment Must Again Become A High Priority, A Bipartisan Priority, And A Balanced Effort That Meets The Needs Of Both Rural America And Urban Regions’

[WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, March 9, 2017) – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday issued the following statement on the American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card, which was released this week. In January, Leahy joined other leading Senate Democrats in introducing the Blueprint to Rebuild America's Infrastructure.  This week, Leahy also spoke in support of a comprehensive infrastructure plan at the Appropriations Subcommittee On Transportation, Housing And Urban Development Hearing On "Investing in America: Funding our Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure Needs."]

“The infrastructure report card reveals what we have known for a long time:  We are overdue on making real investments in our nation’s infrastructure.  A D+ on a report card does not make the grade.  Failing to invest in infrastructure is a failure to invest in our economy and in future generations.  While President Trump says he recognizes these significant needs, we have not seen a plan for real investment from the Trump Administration.  We have only seen vague talk about tax breaks to corporations, imposing more toll roads on the middle class, and leaving Rural America behind. Toll roads are not the answer in rural states and communities.  Infrastructure investment must again become a high priority and a balanced effort that meets the needs of both Rural America and urban regions.

“In January, I was proud to stand with Senate Democrats in introducing a plan that would tackle our crumbling infrastructure.  A real, effective plan that would get this long-deferred work done, and would invest in rural communities to keep our downtowns vibrant, expand broadband access, and grow our economy.  Infrastructure -- whether we are talking about bridges or water treatment or airports or mass transit -- is a public good that must be fairly funded to make these projects realistic for both rural and urban communities.  This will require public investment and a realistic examination of the benefits of public-private partnerships.  This Report Card serves as a timely wakeup call to the Trump Administration, and to Congress.  Regrettably, President Trump’s proposal to cut $54 billion from non-defense programs next year is a giant step in the wrong direction.  The mounting costs of doing nothing are dragging down local economies and degrading Americans’ quality of life.  It was not all that long ago that transportation and infrastructure investment was a bipartisan priority.  In recent years small but loud groups in Congress have obstructed any real progress.  We must return to making infrastructure investment a high priority, and a bipartisan effort.  As Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in achieving these long overdue goals.”

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