Infrastructure has been a “buzzy” topic around Washington as of late, and this week ASCE members added their voices to the conversation by making in-person hill meetings to share the Society’s views on infrastructure investment, including FAA reauthorization, the 2018 WRDA bill, and the SRF WIN Act, with federal lawmakers. These visits came at an opportune time, as President Trump released his Infrastructure Plan last month, and Senate Democrats their own plan last week. ASCE, as part of the Transportation Construction Coalition and the Americans for Transportation Mobility coalition, is running an ad targeted at federal lawmakers urging them to pass major infrastructure legislation.
The group of ASCE advocates prepared for their visit to the Hill by hearing from infrastructure policy experts and Members of Congress, as well as learning from each other.
During Tuesday’s programs members received advocacy tips and tools from Brad Fitch, CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, who urged constituents (that’s each of us!) to tell legislators we care about infrastructure issues, by showing statistics on what motivates lawmakers on an issue, including emails. Later, attendees got an insider’s look at the various infrastructure proposals being debated by Congress from Jeff Davis, Senior Fellow and Editor, Eno Transportation Weekly at The Eno Center for Transportation. Jeff shared his deep knowledge on these issues from his nearly 30 years in Washington, 22 of which focused on transportation issues.
Wednesday morning, USDOT Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy Derek Kan, spoke to the group about the Administration’s plan, and addressed questions on the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and other topics. Next, Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) reflected on his experiences at the local-level in Louisiana before he came to Washington, including the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and the value of building infrastructure more resiliently. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, whose father and grandfather were civil engineers, closed out the morning’s talks by sharing more about the Problem Solvers Caucus’ Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure report, which demonstrates that bipartisan solutions do exist to improve our nation’s infrastructure. She also told ASCE members to share their own stories about infrastructure because it helps her colleagues see how it impacts their constituency.
After the morning’s speakers, 210 ASCE members from 49 states, DC and Puerto Rico headed to Capitol Hill to advocate for infrastructure and the civil engineering community during nearly 270 meetings with Senators and Representatives.
You can check out pictures and see what attendees had to say by using #asce2dc on Twitter and don’t forget to add your voice to theirs by sending an email to Congress in support of infrastructure investment.