Local Civil Engineers Announce Support for Deficit Commission's User Fee Increase Proposal
ASHEVILLE, N.C., Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A proposal from President Obama's Deficit Commission to increase the gas tax as a means of reducing the federal deficit and improving the nation's transportation infrastructure today received a vote of support from the North Carolina Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), as well as the organization's national office.
"Failing infrastructure has a direct impact on the checkbooks of all North Carolinians," said Jesse Jacobson, P.E., president-elect of ASCE's North Carolina Section. "Investing in our roads, bridges and transit systems would not only keep us from wasting time and fuel while sitting in traffic, but it is also an opportunity to begin reducing the national deficit, create jobs and build a better foundation for the health and well-being of our economy and our communities."
The federal motor fuels tax generates revenues that are reserved for investment in highway and public transportation improvements through the Highway Trust Fund. This tax, however, has not been adjusted since 1993 and has lost one-third of its purchasing power over the last 17 years. The Highway Trust Fund has become insolvent in recent years and required multiple emergency transfers from the General Fund. The current proposal includes a 15 cent increase in the gas tax beginning in 2013 and would eliminate transfers from the General Fund.
In North Carolina, 26 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 28 percent of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Driving on roads in need of repair costs North Carolina motorists $241 each year in wasted time and fuel. And, in 2009, the North Carolina Section of ASCE assigned local roadways a grade of D- and bridges a grade of C-. Since then, congestion has continued to plague North Carolina, while funding for repairs and improvements dries up. Nationally, ASCE's 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure assigned the nation's infrastructure an overall grade of D, with bridges, roads and transit receiving grades of C, D- and D, respectively. It also noted that an investment of $2.2 trillion over the next five years is necessary to bring those grades up to an acceptable level.
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit www.asce.org.
SOURCE American Society of Civil Engineers