ASCE is committed to raising awareness of the critical state of our nation’s infrastructure, and persuading lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels to take action.
Infrastructure Action Plan Gets Results in Congress
ASCE’s Infrastructure Action Plan for the 110th Congress outlined 18 legislative steps that Congress should take to raise the grades on our nation’s infrastructure. Targeted ads to promote the plan were also placed in “The Hill,” a daily newspaper sent to members of Congress and their staff.
Four of the 18 steps have already been enacted into law:
- Full funding of SAFETEA-LU guarantees;
- Passage of the Water Resources Development Act;
- Full funding of the Small Watershed Dam Rehabilitation program;
- A fix for the Highway Trust Fund that keeps it solvent.
Members Go to Washington to Take the Case to Lawmakers
A record 150 members from 44 states traveled to the nation’s capital in March to participate in this year’s Legislative Fly-In. Participants learned about key pieces of legislation that would improve infrastructure conditions, then made coordinated visits to more than 225 congressional offices in support of these bills. Members were also encouraged to keep up relationships with their legislators upon returning home.
Grassroots Member Advocacy Expands With New Tools
Our ASCE legislative “Key Contacts” continued their enthusiastic efforts to influence legislation at the state and federal levels. Approximately 5,000 communications were sent to elected officials prompted by 47 Key Alerts. A new online advocacy system, “Click and Connect,” introduced in July, streamlines the process and eases the effort of writing to members of Congress and state elected officials. The new advocacy database also includes dates and locations for congressional town hall meetings across the country.
Government Relations Team Reaches Out Online
As a means of increasing involvement by members, ASCE staff lauched a photo and video contest in October. The Facebook group “Save America’s Infrastructure” continues to attract new members and the blog “Our Failing Infastructure” is updated regularly and picked up by other Web sites.
An Ally in Congress Made an Honorary Fellow
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) was named an Honorary Fellow of the Society. The award was presented to Blumenauer by President Mongan at a breakfast on Capitol Hill during the Legislative Fly-In. ASCE also worked with the congressman over several months to draft legislation to establish a federal trust fund for wastewater infrastructure projects based on the needs identified in the 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.
Florida Members Assess State’s Infrastructure
ASCE encourages members in its Sections and Branches to produce state-level Report Cards to bring more attention to their specific challenges. After a year-long effort, the ASCE Florida section released its Report Card noting that the state’s infrastructure earned an overall rating of “C” and recommending that approximately $200 billion worth of investment will be needed to achieve necessary improvements.