America's infrastructure is in dismal condition. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave it a "D" based on condition, capacity and safety. One-third of our major roadways and one in four bridges in America are either substandard, overburdened or in need of significant repair. Beyond transportation, our nation's sewer and water infrastructure is also approaching a crisis level. According to the EPA, aging sewer systems spill 1.26 trillion gallons of raw sewage each year. There are millions of unemployed workers who should be given the opportunity to help rebuild America.
Congress needs to start by approving the $50 billion for infrastructure projects proposed by President Obama in the American Jobs Act. Economists have projected that these infrastructure projects would create anywhere between 400,000 -- 500,000 jobs. This is just the beginning though -- billions of dollars more will be needed in the coming years. Repairing our nation's infrastructure can be a stable source of employment for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Congress needs to finally enact the bipartisan proposal for a National Infrastructure Bank. This bank would provide loans for infrastructure projects that would be matched by state, local or private funding sources. A broad coalition has declared their support for this idea in the recent past including Congressional Democrats and Republicans, the AFL-CIO, and the Chamber of Commerce. President Obama proposed $10 billion to start up the bank in the American Jobs Act. Congress should approve that funding and get this project going.
Several of the projects these funds and investments can help with are right here in the South Sound. We need to find a solution to the traffic congestion on I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord and we also need to complete State Route 167 to the Port of Tacoma.
This should not be a partisan issue -- there are no Democratic roads or Republican bridges. Investing in our nation's infrastructure right now just makes sense. These are projects that need to be done eventually either way. We should start work on these projects now while there are millions of unemployed Americans eager to take jobs working on them. It's an investment that will pay off for our nation in leaps and bounds.