Last month, 258 ASCE members from across the country converged on Washington D.C. to take part in the ASCE 2019 Legislative Fly-In. All 50 states, and including D.C. and Puerto Rico, were well represented by ASCE members eager to talk about infrastructure in their regions. Pennsylvania was very well represented with 13 total attendees, including two of our very own from the Pittsburgh Section, Greg Scott and Justin Brooks.
The two-day event kicked off with advocacy training and legislative insights from many notable speakers from Capitol Hill. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) shared with us his recent sit down with President Trump, and their shared view on needing a path forward on funding for transportation infrastructure. Then Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) spoke to us about the bipartisan work Congress is doing to get a federal infrastructure package put together.
After the advocacy training and speakers, all 258 attendees were sent to Capitol Hill to meet with their Members of Congress and Representatives. Each attendee was given an advocacy packet, containing the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, issue briefs, and Legislative Priorities. Pennsylvania attendees also brought copies of the PA Infrastructure Report Card (PA Report Card) which was just issued in November 2018.
It was a busy afternoon with more than 320 meetings scheduled over a four-hour period, and most attendees meeting with at least two of their Legislators. We were very fortunate to have beautiful weather in the Capitol this day, which made for great sightseeing between meetings.
This year’s Fly-in focused on ASCE’s three Legislative Priorities for this 116th Congress, as follows.
What makes the Annual ASCE Fly-In so successful each year are the hundreds of ASCE members who make it their job to shed light on issues that are important to the profession and industry, and to share their local experiences on the subject matter with their legislators. Justin Brooks, first time attendee says, “Coming from an individual who has only ever had an outside perspective from news outlets about what Congress does, I was pleasantly surprised to see how welcoming and attentive the legislators and staffers were to hear our concerns. They appreciated the time we took as constituents to share our concerns with them, and they also respected us as professionals on the subject.”
- First, ASCE strongly encourages Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund in order to provide long-term stability and modernize our nation’s roads, bridges, and transit systems for the 21st century. To accomplish this, ASCE supports raising the motor fuel tax, which has not increased since 1993, by 5 cents for the next five years.
- Second, ASCE believes that in order to improve America’s Infrastructure, Congress should return to a regular appropriations cycle to provide adequate funding for existing federal infrastructure and research programs. This would continue to support programs such as National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works, and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) just to name a few.
- Lastly, ASCE believes that the development and implementation of a comprehensive infrastructure plan is critical in addressing our nation’s infrastructure. Also, all infrastructure programs and projects must provide substantial long-term benefits, consider total life-cycle costs, be sustainable and resilient, and should leverage state, local, and private investment.
To stay informed about state and federal level legislation and learn how you can make a difference, become an ASCE Key Contact today.