WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 3999, the National Highway Bridge Reconstruction and Inspection Act, the below statement is offered by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO:
“For years, our nation’s transportation infrastructure has suffered from an appalling lack of investment. The Minneapolis bridge collapse last summer should have brought the debate over that fact to a close.
“The I-35W Bridge was not an isolated example of a structure in disrepair. It is a symbol of America’s failing infrastructure and the lack of urgency to do anything about it. It is beyond ridiculous that the Bush Administration opposes H.R. 3999, a sensible investment and reform proposal.
“With one in eight American bridges rated structurally deficient, the time to act is now. Minnesota lost 13 residents and its economy suffered a $61 million loss as a result of the collapse of the I-35W Bridge. Clearly, we are not doing enough to prevent this nation’s infrastructure from crumbling beneath our feet.
“While this legislation is an important step forward, it is the opening round on bridge repair, which the American Society of Civil Engineers says has a $180 billion price tag over 20 years. Action is also needed in all other modes of transportation – mass transit, airports, air traffic control, Amtrak, freight rail and ports – that suffer from too many years of neglect and underinvestment.
“Congress must work its will on this critically important legislation and challenge the President to sign it into law. America’s failing infrastructure will be repaired only if there’s a bipartisan commitment to deal with what has become a national crisis.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit www.ttd.org.