Washington, D.C. — The American Society of Civil Engineers today released a new paper, Measuring the Benefits and Burdens of Infrastructure in Disadvantaged Communities. The report looks at how several communities across the country consider equity when investing infrastructure funds, and the impact of those projects on lower-income communities.
“Civil engineers are focused on improving quality of life by building systems that improve the public’s health, safety, and well-being,” said Marsia Geldert-Murphey, P.E., 2024 President, ASCE. “However, the decisions on how and where infrastructure is built can affect communities for decades after a project is complete. By looking at the benefits and burdens of past projects, infrastructure owners and developers can find better ways to consider the impact of infrastructure projects being designed now.”
Communities across America are currently receiving once-in-a-generation levels of infrastructure investment from the federal government through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Many programs funded or established by these laws must follow the Justice40 initiative established by the Biden Administration, which requires 40 percent of federal spending from certain programs, including energy and infrastructure, go to disadvantaged communities. While the programs highlighted in ASCE’s latest report were implemented prior to the Justice40 initiative, the case studies illustrate how both urban and rural communities can successfully chart a more equitable, data-driven path into the future.
Some of the recommendations in the paper include encouraging government and other infrastructure stakeholders to use community engagement and transparent metrics when making decisions about proposed infrastructure investments. It also encourages post-project assessments and the use of existing resources to evaluate the positive and unexpected consequences of past infrastructure projects.
Read more on the Measuring the Benefits and Burdens of Infrastructure in Disadvantaged Communities report.
About the American Society of Civil Engineers
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit www.asce.org or www.infrastructurereportcard.org and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.