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Proposed Water Trust Fund Bill Would Provide Solid Foundation for Improvement

Saturday, September 19, 2009 General News J E 4
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American Society of Civil Engineers Commends Rep. Blumenauer for Commitment to Protecting Nation's Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Systems

WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Americans, we owe our health and much of our quality of life to the improvements that have been made during the past century to the drinking water and wastewater systems on which we rely. Despite the importance of those systems to our daily lives and the nation's economy, our water infrastructure currently faces a five-year funding shortfall of more than $100 billion.

At a press conference this morning to announce Rep. Earl Blumenauer's plan to introduce legislation to create a Water Trust Fund (the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) expressed strong support for the creation of a stable, long-term funding mechanism and commended Blumenauer for his support for the nation's infrastructure. The Society noted that such a commitment will be essential to the renewal of these vital national resources, but that provisions--such as making the program deficit-neutral and including budgetary firewalls to prevent the diversion of monies collected--must be included to ensure long-term, sustainable success.

In the Society's 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, ASCE assigned both wastewater and drinking water systems a barely passing grade of D-. According to ASCE president D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, "Every day we rely on seemingly invisible water and wastewater systems to support our quality of life and the nation's economy, and yet they suffer from inattention and underfunding. A long-term, dedicated funding source, like the one proposed by Congressman Blumenauer, will go a long way in ensuring that these vital systems can continue to support the health and safety of the American people."

Later in the afternoon, a representative from ASCE's Report Card for America's Infrastructure Advisory Council, Dale Jacobson, P.E., BCEE, F.ASCE will testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment about the potential challenges facing the trust fund proposal, as well as the potential opportunities and benefits such a program could bring.

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 146,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit www.asce.org.

SOURCE American Society of Civil Engineers
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