This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., threw his support behind a proposal that supporters insist will help local communities build stronger infrastructure to deal with severe weather.
Rubio is backing U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s, D-Wisc., “Built to Last Act” which they first worked on at the start of last year.
The bill would have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “identify a consistent, federal set of best available forward-looking metrological information.” The bill would also have the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “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.”
“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,” 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.”
“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,” Baldwin said. “Our bipartisan legislation will help make sure our infrastructure is built to last and save taxpayer dollars.”
The senators pointed to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which found that “the estimated annual economic losses from damage caused by hurricanes and storm-related flooding is $54 billion to households, businesses, and government.”
When they first introduced the proposal, the senators insisted their proposal would help “ensure federal, state, local and private buildings, roads, and other infrastructure are more resilient to extreme weather events by equipping standards-developing organizations that issue building codes and other standards with the best available information on weather-related risks, including floods, hurricanes and wildfires.”
The bill has the support of R Street, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Planning Association, Enterprise Community Partners and National Ready Mix Concrete Association and other groups.
Baldwin’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Wednesday. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.