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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Extreme weather costs the federal government billions of dollars each year and poses a significant risk to infrastructure, including transportation systems, water and wastewater systems, government buildings and power lines that provide essential services to families and communities. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the estimated annual economic losses from damage caused by hurricanes and storm-related flooding is $54 billion to households, businesses and government.
Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced new bipartisan legislation, the Built to Last Act, to help local communities and private firms build stronger and more climate resilient infrastructure that will better withstand extreme weather events.
“As extreme weather and costly damages becomes more and more frequent it’s important we equip states and local communities with what they need to build stronger and more climate reliant infrastructure. Our bipartisan legislation will help make sure our infrastructure is built to last and save taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Baldwin.
“I am proud to partner with Senator Baldwin, a fellow member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, in this bipartisan effort to mitigate the challenges and impacts of a changing climate and empower states to plan appropriately,” Senator Rubio said. “Florida’s public and private building standards are already among the most stringent in the nation, including the requirement to withstand major hurricanes. The Built to Last Act would bolster our preparedness by improving the Federal Government’s capacity to share projections of weather-related risks to our communities and provide guidance for building codes, ensuring that the infrastructure we build in the future is more resilient to weather impacts.
The bipartisan Built to Last Act will help ensure federal, state, local and private buildings, roads, and other infrastructure are more resilient to extreme weather events by equipping the organizations that issue building codes and other standards with the best available information on weather-related risks, including floods, hurricanes and wildfires.
The Built to Last Act will:
- Require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to identify a consistent, federal set of best available forward-looking metrological information; and
- Require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to make that information available to standards-developing organizations, with advice and technical assistance to help ensure organizations are able to incorporate this information into standards, building codes and voluntary certifications.
The legislation is supported by the International Code Council, SmarterSafer Coalition, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Planning Association, Enterprise Community Partners, Environmental Defense Fund, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc., National Ready Mix Concrete Association, R Street, and Taxpayers for Common Sense.
“Communities rely on codes and standards to ensure their buildings support the health, safety and welfare of their residents. As risks change codes and standards developers need science-based data to ensure those risks are adequately addressed. The International Code Council is working with counterparts globally to develop code specific strategies, but the underlying data must be local. Having targeted, reliable data from NOAA to support future building codes would provide the authoritative source we need to address climate risks,” said Dominic Sims, CBO, Chief Executive Officer of the International Code Council.
More information about the Built to Last Act is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.