It’s that time of the year again – turkey, time off work to be with family and friends, and traveling headaches due to crowded airports and traffic on the highways. This week, millions of people around the country are traveling by way of plane, car, train, or bus to visit their loved ones near and far. Whether you are flying out of a busy airport, traveling over the river and through the woods, or turning on the television to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the big game, ponder how much you use infrastructure every day. As we think about things for which we are thankful this year, we are thankful for our community of members and all those that work to maintain and modernize infrastructure. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) members, staff, and Key Contacts advocated for improvement in all 16 infrastructure categories in 2018. The results of the Society’s advocacy efforts have made us very thankful this holiday season.
Congress & Administration Step Up on Infrastructure
In March, President Trump signed into law a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package. Since October 1, 2017 Congress passed four short-term Continuing Resolutions to keep the government funded. The omnibus spending funded the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2018, or September 30, 2018 and contained 12 appropriations bills. The final package included increased funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), the National Park Service to address their deferred maintenance backlog, Amtrak grants, Federal Aviation Administration operations, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other items. Read more>>
The FAA reauthorization bill was a five-year, $96.7 billion reauthorization; the longest of the FAA since 1982. The bill included key wins for ASCE including an expansion of the Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) process to cover airport projects that use federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds at any stage, consistent QBS requirements and state licensing laws, and an airport infrastructure study requirement. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), which provides incentives for state and local government to better prepare for disasters was adopted as part of the FAA reauthorization bill. The passage of this is a success for ASCE 8 years in the making. The provisions constituting the DRRA represent a significant improvement in U.S. disaster resilience policy, providing states with access to an enhanced, on-budget pre-disaster mitigation fund for activities that provide a measurable reduction of risk and focusing recovery funds toward resilient building code adoption and enforcement. Thank your members of Congress for supporting the FAA reauthorization bill. Read more>>
WRDA was another major success for ASCE. Passed in the Senate by a vote of 99-1 and in the House by a voice vote, this bill authorizes key programs and projects that are critical to improving our nation’s water-related infrastructure categories including reauthorization of the National Levee Safety Program and the National Dam Safety Program, authorizing the Securing Required Funds for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, and the reauthorization of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) successful Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (WIFIA) and reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for three-years at increasing funding levels, eventually rising to $1.95 billion in FY2021. Thank your members of Congress for passing WRDA 2018. Read more >>
2018 Midterm Election Results Boost Infrastructure Investment
Infrastructure investment made its way onto the ballot in several states around the country during the 2018 Midterm Elections, which resulted in infrastructure successes in many states. Californians voted to keep their 2017 gas tax increase in place with a “no” vote on Prop 6, Connecticut residents passed an amendment that secured gas tax money in a transportation lockbox, and Rhode Island voters overwhelmingly approved $250 million for public school building improvements as well as $47.3 million for water infrastructure. Read more >>
Infrastructure Report Cards Tell the Story
ASCE sections in California and Kern County, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania, Minnesota and the Twin Ports area dedicated hours, days, weeks, and months of their time grading local infrastructure systems for the State Infrastructure Report Card releases. Thank you to the hundreds of ASCE volunteers who worked tirelessly to grade and assess their state’s infrastructure. Find out how your state fared >>
Thank you, Key Contacts!
Finally, ASCE is thankful for its’ active and engaged members. Each day, ASCE’s dedicated team of lobbyists in Washington, D.C. – who are strong voices for infrastructure investment— advocate for the Society’s priority issues on Capitol Hill. However, they rely on the ongoing support and knowledge of ASCE members and our active Key Contacts. Thanks to our Fly-In attendees, those who continue to contact their members of Congress, op-ed authors, and state legislative day coordinators, all of whom ensure ASCE’s voice is heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill and in state capitals. Your efforts are clearly making a difference in both D.C. and states across the country. We are thankful for our Advocacy Captains and members who were involved in our legislative efforts in 2018 and look forward to carrying this momentum on into 2019.
Happy Thanksgiving, from ASCE to you!