Local Civil Engineers Announce Support for Deficit Commission's User Fee Increase Proposal
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 1, 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 St. Louis Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), as well as the organization's national office.
"St. Louis's economic future depends on a functioning infrastructure, and unfortunately over recent decades, we have allowed these critical systems to decline," said Adam Spector, president of ASCE's St. Louis Section. "Investing in infrastructure creates jobs and supports our quality of life, and doing so by increasing the federal gas tax will not only improve our roads, bridges and transit systems, but will also help reduce the federal deficit."
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 Missouri, 31 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 30 percent of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Driving on roads in need of repair costs Missouri motorists $380 each year in wasted time and fuel. Also, in Illinois, 33 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 17 percent of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Driving on roads in need of repair costs Illinois motorists $292 each year in wasted time and fuel.
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