Groups around the nation address America’s deferred maintenance crisis, highlight lack of investment in infrastructure as a threat to public health and safety, jobs, and economic growth
Washington, D.C. – Building America’s Future today announced that it will play a leading role in Infrastructure Week 2016, which will be May 16-23. During Infrastructure Week, local, state, and federal leaders will sound the alarm bell that our economy, jobs, and public health and safety are being threatened by a failure to invest in the maintenance and modernization of our nation’s infrastructure. A broad coalition of business, labor, and government groups will highlight how specific gaps in our infrastructure – from failing water and gas pipes to deteriorating dams, bridges and highways, and public transit systems – matter to all Americans. And, critically, what we need to do to fix these crises before more people, communities, and the economy suffer.
In the last 12 months, broken dams in South Carolina caused flooding and fatalities; a massive pipeline rupture in Porter Ranch, California sickened and displaced thousands of families; and following last month’s 24-hour metro shutdown to assess safety hazards that disrupted business and commutes in the middle of the workweek, Washington, D.C.’s metro system announced that metro lines may be forced to close for months to undergo long-overdue repairs and maintenance. And of course, residents of Flint, Michigan, found out that their fears about toxic water were not unfounded — unsafe levels of lead were confirmed to be in the water, potentially harming Flint children for the rest of their lives.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the cost of not fixing our infrastructure could lead to a $3.1 trillion loss in GDP by 2020. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund will grow exponentially, to more than $107 billion a decade from now. The American Water Works Association estimates it will cost more than $1 trillion to replace aging water pipes in the ground, and that figure doesn’t account for necessary upgrades to drinking water or wastewater treatment plants.
“The country cannot bear the cost of dams that break and flood cities, children suffering from lead poisoning, fatal and costly public transportation accidents, or exploding pipelines. As deferred maintenance demands grow and the price tag balloons, it is clear that there is an urgent need for action. Building America’s Future is proud to lead the Infrastructure Week effort and to draw attention to necessity of investment in the infrastructure that keeps our country running,” said Building America’s Future President Marcia Hale.
Infrastructure Week 2016 is led by a steering committee consisting of the AFL-CIO, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Building America’s Future, Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Value of Water Coalition.
Planning for more than 40 Infrastructure Week events (http://infrastructureweek.org/calendar/) is underway, and more than 100 affiliate organizations have already pledged to be involved. Building on the success of Infrastructure Week 2015, dozens of organizations and local elected officials will send representatives to Capitol Hill to talk to members of Congress about the important role of sustained federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Advocacy Day on the Hill will be Wednesday, May 18th, 2016.
For more information, please visit www.BAFuture.org and action.BAFuture.org. For the latest infrastructure news, please follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/BAFuture), Facebook (www.facebook.com/BuildingAmericasFuture), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/BAFInfrastructure).