A group of 128 organizations Feb. 4 announced itssupport for a proposed amendment to the Senate stimulus package that would provide almost $10 billion over the next two years for vital new navigation, flood control, and lock and dam projects nationwide. Led by the Water Resources Coalition, the group said its members are taking a range of steps to help support the passage of the amendment, authored by Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.
“Modern waterways are vital to a healthy water supply, efficient goods movement, reliable flood control, clean electric power, and safe recreation,” said Patrick J. Natale, executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “Making this kind of investment now will go a long way in protecting public health, safety and welfare, and in shoring up the ability of these systems to support our economy”
The broad range of groups, who announced their support for the amendment in a letter to the Senate leadership, said the amendment was needed to counter years of underinvestment in the nation’s waterways, ports and drinking water systems. They committed to working with Sen. Landrieu and her colleagues to help win passage of the amendment.
The group noted, for example, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already identified $12 billion worth of ready-to-go water projects and the Association of State Dam Safety Officials has estimated that $50 billion is needed to rehabilitate dams across the nation. In addition, the group also noted that the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that $535 billion is needed to modernize drinking and wastewater facilities nationwide.
“We’re committed to ensuring that the nation’s neglected water infrastructure receives the level of support experts have long called for,” said Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “We have a unique opportunity to put people to work, stimulate new economic activity and leave a legacy of healthy families, strong communities and growing commerce.”