Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Make Sure That We Get the Most Bang For Our Buck In Highway Spending

Infrastructure is an issue that affects us all. We all drive over the roads and bridges that criss-cross the nation, or at least pay for them. However, we need more transparency in this process to make sure that our money is spent as efficiently and as effectively as possible. There is a proposal before Congress that can help make this a reality.

It is The Fiscal Accountability and Transparency in Infrastructure Spending Act, also known as Senate Bill 615 and sponsored by Louisiana Senator David Vitter. It is exactly the type of legislation that our citizens are demanding because it requires states and government agencies to obtain a life-cycle cost analysis based on the standards developed by the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, the cost analysis must incorporate initial costs and discounted future costs over at least a 50-year period as this model more closely captures the actual economic impact of infrastructure projects. It also provides state and local transportation agencies with the flexibility to use alternate infrastructure type design and bidding procedures to increase competition and drive down costs.

A failing infrastructure cannot support a strong economy. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), America's infrastructure has a cumulative grade of D and our nation's network of roads, highways and bridges needs substantial work. This transparent process ensures that officials can make decisions that are truly the most cost effective for the American taxpayer and includes measures to further drive down the costs of these important projects

This legislation will help officials build roads with more transparency, at a better value. I hope West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin will vote to support Senator Vitter's critical piece of legislation. It's the right thing to do.

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