Monday, February 23, 2009

PCA looks beyond stimulus

According to John Shaw of the Portland Cement Association (PCA), additional funding for transportation and infrastructure is needed that directly addresses our deteriorating roads and bridges. “There are many commendable portions of the economic stimulus bill, but there is still much work to be done,” Shaw, PCA’s senior vice president of government affairs, said. “The best way to get America working again is through the most measurable metric – road and bridge construction. We hope that Congress will continue to address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and continue putting Americans back to work by making transportation-related legislation a priority in the 111th session.”

PCA studies report that infrastructure funding creates jobs on both an immediate and long-term basis in all areas of the economy. For every 10 construction jobs created by a project, the community gains 17 additional jobs that stay in the region.

Repairing our nation’s infrastructure will not only add jobs, but can put money back in the pockets of motorists. According the 2009 American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card for America’s Infrastructure Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic at a cost to the economy of $78.2 billion, or $710 per motorist. Additionally, congestion on our crowded roadways contributes 27.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Shaw stresses keeping the states and local agencies accountable for the money that has been allocated to them is vital to moving the economy forward. “The Administration has recognized the importance of transparency and accountability for the programs within the bill. Our infrastructure must be constructed with the highest quality materials that reduce future maintenance and ensure durability,” Shaw said. “By investing properly we can free up more money for states and communities to use for vital services like schools and police.”

For example, according to Shaw, concrete pavements can last up to 30 years or longer before resurfacing is required. Asphalt needs to be resurfaced every 8 or 9 years. “It is an economical and sustainable choice for meeting our growing infrastructure demands.” -- Mark S. Kuhar

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