Congress currently is considering comprehensive infrastructure legislation that would likely invest in U.S. transportation, water and energy infrastructure needs. On April 4, Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 participants visited legislators' offices on Capitol Hill to ask that a robust buildings component be considered for inclusion in the broader infrastructure funding package.
A growing problem
One of the most effective catalysts for sustained economic growth is investment in U.S. public infrastructure, which helps create family-sustaining jobs, supports safety and security, and improves the movement of commerce. Although surface transportation, ports and other forms of infrastructure have been prioritized in previous infrastructure debates, it is important the built environment, which includes elements critical to communities such as schools, airports, hospitals and other public buildings, be given parity in funding and incentives as a broader infrastructure package is considered. Such infrastructure investments should be evaluated based on a life-cycle cost-effectiveness analysis and ensure best practices and consensus building codes and standards are implemented to deliver maximum value to taxpayers.
An example highlighting the need for investment in the built environment is the condition of many public school buildings in the U.S. These structures are on average at least 40 years old, and the current backlog of maintenance and capital projects they require adds up to a $45 billion funding gap annually. The upgrades schools and other public buildings need are not being fulfilled, and Congress must take action to address the problem.