The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) commended President Obama for taking action to put people back to work and for helping ensure a stronger America and strong investments amid a “crumbling built environment”.
Obama’s bold plan to get Americans back to work again was praised by the USGBC along with the accolades he received from many local government units and infrastructure associations who are now calling on Congress to pass his proposed American Jobs Act (AJA), which focuses on infrastructure construction, renewing the Build America Bonds program and green building.
The $447 billion proposal includes tax cuts to encourage businesses to hire new employees, as well as new spending for infrastructure projects like the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank aimed at encouraging private investment in infrastructure projects.
“It is clear that we must rebuild and modernize our increasingly brittle built environment,” said Rick
Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC.
Fedrizzi said there is a clear clamor to improve the country’s infrastructure, including the buildings, roads, transit, and bridges – that are in desperate need of investment. According to him, the thousands of building sector professionals and small businesses, hard hit by the struggling economy, can be put back to work overnight.
“We just need to get on with it, and we offer our full support to President Obama’s proposal and to the passage of the American Jobs Act,” he said.
“Energy retrofits especially, and the jobs and innovation embedded in this one activity, are a cornerstone
to broader economic recovery in every sector,” said Fedrizzi.
If Americans only had greener, more efficient buildings, the USA could be saving $130 billion every year and creating nearly one million jobs in the process, Fedrizzi noted.
“And for every billion dollars invested at home in our infrastructure, we create 25,000 well-paying jobs.”
“Specifically in commercial buildings, we know fixing the tax incentive for energy efficient commercial
buildings, Section 179D, could create 77,000 additional jobs in energy efficiency. I hope Congress will
strongly consider this common sense tax fix,” Fedrizzi said.
“Just as importantly, our homes, our neighborhoods and our schools are in need of significant improvement,” Fedrizzi added.
“In fact, our schools have long been ringing the alarm, and there are thousands of projects out there that are ready to go the minute the funding is available.”
On average, schools in USA are more than 40 years old. Almost a quarter of them need massive repair just to meet basic health and safety standards, while 15,000 schools have air that is not conducive for breathing.
“Our kids deserve school buildings that enhance their learning and their health, not compromise it, and this is a way to deliver on that promise,” Fedrizzi said.
Fedrizzi commended Obama, saying his “proposal puts us on a path to create jobs by focusing on nation building at home and the things that have always made us strong.”
“By investing in our built environment, we stimulate our economy, we save energy, save people money, put Americans back to work and create a strong foundation for continued global leadership.”