PHILADELPHIA -- A group of over 360 local elected officials from across the United States, including 111 signers from Pennsylvania, called on President Biden and Congress for robust infrastructure funding to make our communities healthier and protect the environment. The national sign-on letter, released by PennEnvironment, highlighted how infrastructure investment could unite a divided country and heal economic wounds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It called for investments -- essential to protecting public health and addressing climate change -- in five key areas: clean water; transportation; clean energy; nature-based; and solid waste infrastructure.
In November, 2020, PennEnvironment released a report offering a Blueprint for America’s infrastructure plan. The report laid out a vision to bridge political divides through infrastructure investment and offered a roadmap to emerge stronger as a nation after the COVID-19 pandemic. It made infrastructure policy recommendations that would protect public health and our environment.
“Infrastructure touches virtually every aspect of our lives and it’s at the heart of our greatest challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated our infrastructure problems and, as we plan a road to recovery, now is the time to solve them,” said Stephanie Wein, Clean Water & Conservation Advocate at PennEnvironment. “But simply spending more money won’t get us 21st-century infrastructure: We need new programs and priorities. Rather than just making investments in shovel-ready projects, we need to be thinking about what projects are actually shovel worthy instead.”
One area of focus recommended by PennEnvironment is the development of Pennsylvania’s electric vehicle infrastructure, which is lagging behind that of other states and far below what will be needed to transition the state’s transportation systems away from fossil fuel based transportation systems.
PennEnvironment also recommended addressing the state’s failing water infrastructure.
The American Society of Engineers give’s Pennsylvania an infrastructure a D for drinking water, stormwater infrastructure and transit infrastructure, and a D- for wastewater infrastructure.
“As we strive towards an infrastructure plan that supports healthier and safer communities, these statistics are unacceptable,” noted Wein.. “Pennsylvanians are resilient -- our infrastructure should be too.”
PennEnvironment is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.PennEnvironment.org.