EPW OK’s Review of Major Infrastructure Improvements

Includes Carper-Voinovich Proposal to Improve America's Infrastructure

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) has approved the “National Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2007,”  legislation to address the deteriorating condition of America’s roads, bridges, drinking water systems, dams and other public works.
Legislation introduced in early March to establish a National Commission on Infrastructure, today was included in a larger bill approved by the full EPW Committee to enhance economic growth by ensuring the nation’s infrastructure can meet current and future demands. Two of the bill’s original sponsors, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio), serve on the EPW Committee.

This infrastructure improvement bill is an important first step to revitalize America’s weakening infrastructure. Hurricane Katrina, alone, made evident the serious need for the repair and improvement of aging infrastructures and waterway systems. There is a $1.2 billion backlog of unfunded Army Corps of Engineers operation and maintenance projects. 

“No nation can be prosperous without maintaining its fundamental infrastructure building blocks. Economic development and public safety hinge on upgrading our nation’s infrastructure, including enhanced transportation, water quality and flood controls,” said Sen. Carper. “As our federal budget constraints tighten, we must protect our communities’ current infrastructures and set priorities for future infrastructure investments.”

 “The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina made painfully clear the urgent need for improvements to our aging infrastructure,” Sen. Voinovich said. “Our infrastructure is collapsing due to insufficient funding. And the deterioration of our nation’s waterways and infrastructure systems are impacting our economy, our environment and the overall welfare of the American people. This legislation gets to the heart of the problem by establishing a commission that will provide concrete recommendations for future infrastructure needs. When enacted, this commission will lead the way in providing long-term solutions to the dire problems we currently face.”

The Carper-Voinovich infrastructure provisions of the EPW bill mandate the:

  • Establishment of a National Commission on the Infrastructure of the United States to ensure the nation’s infrastructure meets growing demands and facilitates economic growth;
  • Completion of a study by February 2010 to address all matters relating to the state of the nation’s infrastructure, including: capacity of infrastructure improvements to sustain current and anticipated economic development; the age, condition and capacity of public infrastructure; repair and maintenance needs; financing methods; and investment requirements;
  • Development of recommendations for a federal plan outlining infrastructure priorities; and
  • Completion of a report to Congress by February 2010 that will detail infrastructure legislation deemed necessary for the next five, 15, 30 and 50 years.
TheNational Infrastructure Improvement Act was first introduced in the 109th Congress. The legislation has gained broad support from numerous organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.