September 18, 2007

Dodd, Hagel Stress Importance of Bill to Revitalize American Infrastructure

Respond to study showing American roads are becoming more congested

In response to today’s findings by the Texas Transportation Institute that traffic congestion continues to worsen in cities across America, Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) again stressed the need for their bipartisan legislation to revitalize, repair, and replace America’s aging and crumbling roads, bridges, transit systems, water treatment facilities, and public housing properties.
    “Today’s report by the Texas Transportation Institute only serves to underscore what Senator Hagel and I have said before: America’s infrastructure is failing,” said Dodd. “Traffic congestion alone is causing a $78 billion dollar drain on our economy as 2.9 billion gallons of fuel are wasted each year. These numbers are only going to increase in the years to come. By investing in our infrastructure today, we can minimize costs down the road and provide a brighter, more secure future for all Americans. The bill Senator Hagel and I introduced is critically important. Our quality of life and economic prosperity hang in the balance.” “The current infrastructure in our country is wholly inadequate to handle the demands of a 21st Century economy. As today’s report emphasizes, our highways are hopelessly clogged by traffic, negatively affecting both our quality of life and economic prosperity. As our country grows – without an increase in construction of roads and interchanges – traffic congestion will only become worse. This report underscores that reality. We can no longer defer the tough choices necessary to modernize our national infrastructure. This will require a huge financial commitment, and new systems through which we fund infrastructure projects will be imperative. Enacting legislation such as the “National Infrastructure Bank,” introduced by Senator Dodd and I, will begin to make the needed investments in our infrastructure to retain the economic prosperity, the quality of life, and the safety of all Americans,” Hagel said.
Senators Dodd and Hagel introduced the National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007 on August 1st. It would create an independent national bank that would identify, evaluate and help finance infrastructure projects of substantial regional and national significance. Infrastructure projects that can be funded by the Bank include publicly-owned mass transit systems, roads, bridges, drinking and wastewater systems, and housing properties.