"Last night's collapse of a section of the I-5 bridge in Washington State is a frightening reminder of the critical state of our nation's infrastructure. We are thankful that no one was killed, but an incident like this should never be acceptable in this nation.
"The truth is, we have no one to blame but ourselves for a long-standing lack of sufficient investment in our nation's infrastructure right here at home. The perilous state of the I-5 bridge was already known - it had been deemed fracture critical and functionally obsolete. And sadly, this is among one of an alarming number of bridges across our nation in a degrading condition.
"The statistics are more than enough to raise concern:
"There is not only a human cost to our crumbling infrastructure, but also an economic one. A lack of investment in port infrastructure could account for $270 billion in export losses by 2020; likewise, air traffic delays cost the economy $33 billion a year, while freight bottlenecks could cost the American economy as much as $200 billion per year. Last night's collapse will indefinitely cut off one of the main connections between Seattle and Canada, affecting commuter travel and commerce.
"Our country has spent $89 billion rebuilding the roads and bridges of Afghanistan and $69 billion rebuilding the roads and bridges of Iraq, yet this Congress will spend only $53 billion rebuilding the roads and bridges of our own country. This is unacceptable.
"Last night's bridge collapse should be a wakeup call. It's time to do some real nation building right here at home."
Higgins has repeatedly advocated for a large-scale investment in American infrastructure. Last year, he introduced H.R. 4352, the Nation Building Here at Home Act, which calls for a $1.2 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure over the next five years. A report by the New America Foundation, titled "The Way Forward," found this level of investment will create more than 27 million jobs through the projects themselves and multiplier effects.
Higgins will reintroduce this legislation this year.