Legislation would help build weather-resistant infrastructure

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Bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would assist communities and private firms in building infrastructure that will withstand severe weather.

The Built to Last Act would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to identify a federal set of forward-looking metrological information and require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to make the information available to standard-developing organizations. Organizations would then incorporate the information into building standards, codes, and voluntary certifications.

Standard-developing organizations are the primary source of the standards and codes that building planners follow. It can be a challenge to find the best available information to create design standards.

Annually, there is an estimated $54 billion in economic losses from damage caused by hurricanes and storm-related flooding, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill was introduced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and was cosponsored by Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN).

“As severe weather becomes more and more frequent, it’s important we equip states and local communities with the modern information and technical assistance they need to build stronger roads, bridges, and facilities that can withstand the next storm or natural disaster,” Baldwin said. “This reform will not only ensure we are better protecting our infrastructure, but it will also save taxpayer dollars.”