Reps. Babin and Rouda Introduce Bipartisan SMART Infrastructure Act
Washington, October 17, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressmen Brian Babin (TX-36) and Harley Rouda (CA-48) issued the following release after introducing H.R. 4687, the Sustainable Municipal Access to Resilient Technology in Infrastructure (SMART Infrastructure) Act, along with Reps. Grace Napolitano (CA-32) and Ralph Norman (SC-05).
The SMART Infrastructure Act supports innovation and open competition in procurement, allowing the United States to rebuild America’s infrastructure efficiently and sensibly.
Currently, several municipalities have regulations in place that significantly restrict the types of materials available to be used for infrastructure projects. These regulations have increased costs and obstructed the adoption of innovative technologies. The National Taxpayers Union estimates that opening competition for construction materials could save more than $371 billion on water infrastructure improvements alone.
This bill encourages modern, resilient solutions that use taxpayer dollars responsibly by:
“Congress is responsible for making sure we get the most out of every American taxpayer dollar it spends, and the SMART Infrastructure Act will ensure just that,” said Babin. “This bill makes a simple, but critical, reform to our federally-funded procurement and project-development process by returning authority and responsibility to the construction professionals who know best. I’m excited to work alongside Reps. Rouda, Napolitano, and Norman to get this important piece of legislation passed into law.”
"The SMART Infrastructure Act is capitalism at work - encouraging open competition and removing burdensome regulations while saving American taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Rouda. “As the federal government continues to fund critical infrastructure projects and Members on both sides of the aisle seek to increase that investment across the country, we should encourage modern, resilient solutions that use taxpayer dollars responsibly.”
"Ensuring open and fair competition in the acquisition of materials for infrastructure projects is critically important," said Napolitano. "It increases jobs in our districts by allowing innovative businesses to compete fairly with traditional materials, and it lowers costs for taxpayers by creating additional supply in the bidding process. I am proud to join Reps. Rouda, Babin, and Norman in supporting this bipartisan legislation for our communities."
“In my home state of South Carolina and across the nation, there’s a renewed focus on infrastructure improvement,” said Norman. “From the federal standpoint, two of the best things Congress can do to facilitate these much needed improvements are to encourage competition and remove unnecessary regulations. I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of the SMART Infrastructure Act to help address these issues, and thank Representatives Rouda, Babin, and Napolitano for their leadership.”
Several companies and organizations, representing thousands of employees in the 36th District of Texas and across the country, have already come out in support of the legislation:
"The SMART Infrastructure Act is not only a smart approach to infrastructure policy, it's a smart approach to fiscal policy. A key to success in completing projects efficiently and effectively, on time and on budget, is open competition for the materials used in their construction. The SMART Infrastructure Act provides the balance needed to ensure that both innovation and the professional judgment of engineers combine to deliver the best possible results for taxpayers with federally-funded projects. The legislation also delivers forward-looking vision through an interagency task force that will make recommendations on reducing barriers in the procurement process -- barriers that can interfere with important pro-taxpayer principles such as life-cycle cost analysis and resiliency. The bipartisan SMART Infrastructure Act is sensible legislation that can, and should, be at the top of Congress's infrastructure policy agenda, just as it is for National Taxpayers Union." – Pete Sepp, President of the National Taxpayers Union & NTU Foundation
“We commend Congressman Babin and Rouda for introducing legislation that will allow communities to choose the most innovative and cost-effective solutions for building a stronger, more resilient infrastructure. The Sustainable Municipal Access to Resilient Technology in Infrastructure (SMART-Infrastructure) Act will help eliminate material mandates and the hold that monopolies have over the bidding process for building projects in many cities and towns across the country. This legislation will simply and wisely let project managers consider all technologies and select the best solution for the job instead of being forced to use pre-selected materials. It’s estimated that adopting the open and competitive bidding reforms in this legislation could save over $370 billion on water infrastructure projects alone. We urge Congress to support this bill that will help provide more freedom and more choices for communities when it comes to repairing the nation’s failing infrastructure.” – Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council
“Leading Builders of America supports the Sustainable Municipal Access to Resilient Technology in Infrastructure (SMART-Infrastructure) Act. Our members are America’s builders and the costs of state and local regulations including mandates requiring the use of certain materials limit our ability to innovate and unnecessarily drive up housing costs for home buyers. Leading Builders of America supports opening competition so we can use the right materials for the project to build strong and affordable communities.” – Ken Gear, CEO of the Leading Builders of America
“This bill simply makes sense. Different materials perform better in certain jobs than others, and they can do so at lower cost to the American taxpayer. With this bill, Representatives Rouda and Babin are putting the decision-making power when it comes to federal infrastructure spending in the hands of the people who should have that power, and we applaud them for doing so.” – Tony Radoszewski, President and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)
“The Vinyl Institute strongly supports the Sustainable Municipal Access to Resilient Technology in Infrastructure (SMART Infrastructure) Act because it will allow municipalities to do more projects for the same financial resources. It’s well known that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that an additional $2 trillion in spending is needed over the next ten years to bring America’s water systems, roads, bridges and dams into the 21st Century. Finding this funding to update our aging infrastructure is a herculean task made even more difficult because of outdated procurement practices that mandate the use of certain legacy materials. Restricting material choices means taxpayers, construction crews, and municipalities are overpaying for pipes and other products – that’s money that could be going to modernize water systems. It should be mandatory that engineers be provided a menu of options to choose from when they decide what product is best for a project. Only the manufacturer wins when there is only one option on the menu and the manufacturer can name its price. Tax dollars to fund these projects are limited, options to finalize these projects with the best products at the best prices should be unlimited.” – Dick Heinle, Chairman of the Vinyl Institute
“Associated Builders and Contractors supports the SMART-Infrastructure Act. Granting governments procuring federally funded infrastructure projects the authority to choose from a variety of quality materials is a win-win for the environment, sustainability efforts and taxpayers.” – Ben Brubeck, Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs of Associated Builders and Contractors