Congress Should Support the Fiscal Accountability and Transparency in Infrastructure Spending Act

Mar 18, 2011, 17:55 ET from What Are the Real Costs

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by What Are the Real Costs:

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced legislation this week that would require a comprehensive life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) to be conducted for major infrastructure projects that receive at least $5 million in federal funding.

This is great news for American taxpayers because it will drive down costs, maximize efficiency, and maximize taxpayer dollars. It's also great news for supporters of smart infrastructure investment because it will help fund more projects and ensure that we're building infrastructure to last. This bill couldn't come at a better time - wasteful federal spending is out of control and much of our nation's infrastructure is crumbling. We have roads over 60 years old and a highway system that was built for a country of 150 million Americans (now trying to support 300 million).

In a press release announcing the introduction of the legislation, Senator Vitter said, “Congress needs to get serious about reducing federal spending on all fronts so we can get on a different, more sustainable fiscal path. Louisiana has many vital infrastructure projects, and my bill would help make sure their budgets are open and transparent so that taxpayer money is not wasted.” (View the full press release at http://vitter.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=c57e47e6-0a92-199f-8e92-63e051354d85)

Here are the specifics of the Fiscal Accountability and Transparency in Infrastructure Spending Act:

  • Requires an LCCA of at least 50 years for major infrastructure projects.
  • Results of LCCAs must be published online within 72 hours to give taxpayers a transparent look at the real costs of projects.
  • Roads and highways are to be built with real world conditions in mind, utilizing AASHTO's Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG), which allows engineers to input local conditions (like traffic and weather) into their designs.  This prevents roads from being overdesigned and has already saved millions in limited use at the state DOT level.
  • And officials are encouraged to use alternate design and bidding processes to increase competition and decrease costs.  This approach has spurred innovative designs and driven down costs across several states.

Life-cycle budgeting will help ensure that our tax dollars are used more efficiently and that our infrastructure and building investments will be guided by the best and most up-to-date empirical data - not politics.

We urge Congress to support this critically important legislation. Let your voice be heard by visiting our action center: http://whataretherealcosts.org/support-the-effort/.

And to keep up with the latest news and developments, be sure to follow us on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/TheRealCosts) and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/TheRealCosts).

Contact: Laura Braden, 615-891-8433, lbraden@mercuryllc.com

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