WASHINGTON -- As every state in the country reopens during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, traffic on America’s roads and carbon emissions are returning to pre-lockdown levels. Congress is currently debating how America will rebuild coming out of the crisis, and the much-maligned “infrastructure week” has the potential to result in concrete action. House Democrats unveiled a sweeping $1.5 trillion infrastructure package last Thursday that, if passed, could signal a sea change in federal infrastructure policy. The “Moving Forward Act” would rebuild and modernize the United States by expanding access to clean transportation, rehabilitating drinking water infrastructure, modernizing the electric grid and energy supply infrastructure, and protecting public health and the environment. The House plans to take up the bill next week.
In response to the Moving Forward Act, the following Environment America and U.S. PIRG experts issued statements.
Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG’s Transportation Campaign director, said:
“Just as the infrastructure investments made by generations past have shaped the society we live in today, the decisions we make now about what to build and spend money on will cast a long shadow into the future. It’s time for a course correction. Rather than continuing to invest in an outdated system that pollutes our air, endangers our health and exacerbates climate change, let’s build a future with cleaner air, a healthier environment and a better quality of life for Americans. The Moving Forward Act isn’t perfect -- it still spends far too much on highways. But it moves the needle in the right direction, including a significant increase in investment in transit, walking and biking projects.”
Read Casale’s full statement on the transportation spending portions of the bill here.
Morgan Folger, Environment America’s Clean Cars Campaign director, said:
“Rebuilding America’s infrastructure, if done correctly, can be a powerful tool to fight the climate crisis. All new infrastructure should be built with climate in mind. The Moving Forward Act sets the stage for cleaner transportation by incentivizing electric vehicles. From passenger cars to postal trucks, an electric future will cut pollution, protect our climate, and improve public health. With emissions ticking higher as the country reopens, we don’t have a moment to lose.”
John Rumpler, Environment America’s Clean Water Program director, said:
“Clean, safe water is the hallmark of an advanced society, but we have neglected it for far too long. As a result, we now have billions of gallons of sewage overflows, lead and PFAS chemicals in our drinking water. The Moving Forward Act makes urgently needed investments in our water infrastructure, moving us closer to our vision of clean water for all.”
Johanna Neumann, Environment America’s senior director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, said:
“The Moving Forward Act offers a solid foundation for much-needed national progress toward 100% renewable energy. As we update America’s infrastructure, we must do so with an eye toward rapidly moving America away from polluting fossil fuels. This bill does that by boosting deployment of clean energy and giving local leaders across America the resources to make sure everyone can tap into the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Now is the time to build the future we need.”