Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Brendan Boyle (PA-02)
As members of Congress from opposing political parties, we’re expected to have plenty of differences. But we’re connected by something very important: our mission to fight for the health, safety, and prosperity of Pennsylvanians. That’s why we are in agreement that, when it comes to our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, it’s time to put aside partisan battles and get things done for the American people.
Our infrastructure is the backbone of our economy. To be clear, infrastructure is more than just roads and bridges. It’s the way Pennsylvanians get to work every day to provide for their families, and the way small businesses thrive. It’s not just a system of pipes; it’s the water our kids drink. More than just an electrical grid; it’s how we power our homes, stay connected to critical services, and safeguard our climate. We need a national infrastructure plan that delivers these basics to Pennsylvanians, while also building the future we owe our children.
Here in Southeast Pennsylvania, we understand the consequences of federal underinvestment in infrastructure all too well. Philadelphia’s commute was recently ranked 20% higher than the national average. Congestion between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 cost rush hour drivers 54 additional gallons of gas and $2,301 annually in 2013. This congestion destroys our roads, costs each of us more at the pump, harms our air quality, and takes away precious time with loved ones. Our roads and bridges are some of the oldest in the nation, and the Philadelphia area has four of the 10 most deadly stretches of road in Pennsylvania.
As The Inquirer reported, a recent holiday weekend storm overwhelmed the treatment capacity of Philadelphia’s outdated sewer systems, causing raw sewage to flow into rivers and streams that pass through residential neighborhoods. Pennsylvania’s public water systems have also been under threat of contamination from PFAS — “forever chemicals” linked to cancer and other serious health problems.
Thanksgiving will bring families from all over the region to our stretch of Pennsylvania. We owe our residents and visitors the peace of mind that the water they drink and cook with is not contaminated from mismanaged government spending. Improvements to our infrastructure will keep our communities cleaner and let them spend more time together and less time in congestion.
We’ve come together to address the threat in our communities through federal funding, oversight, and regulation. But no American should have to question the safety of their drinking water, and the more we look for PFAS and other contaminants across the country, the more we find.