Legislative Update for April 2021
Written & compiled by Austin Messerli PE, Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair
The ASCE Texas Section’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has been busy planning and holding events, educating the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (A/E/C) industry, and working with the Texas legislature members across the State. Despite the challenges we are all facing, the Texas Section GAC has not wavered in working to meet our members’ needs by contacting our policymakers to educate and advocate on behalf of Texas Civil Engineers.
2021 Texas Infrastructure Report Card (IRC)
On February 10, the Texas Section released the 2021 Texas Infrastructure Report Card. This report evaluated 12 infrastructure categories across Texas, which is up from 8 in 2017, ranging from highways and roads to flood risk mitigation. Each category was assigned a letter grade indicating the respective condition. Texas earned an overall GPA of “C”, which was a move in the positive direction from 2017, which the State earned an overall GPA of “C-“. Five categories fell in good condition (“B” range), three categories inadequate condition (“C” range), and four in poor condition (“D” range). A list of all 12 categories and their respective grades are below,
|Aviation: B-||Levees: D|
|Bridges: B-||Public Parks and Recreation: C-|
|Dams: D+||Highways and Roads: D+|
|Drinking Water: C-||Solid Waste: B|
|Energy: B+||Transit: B-|
|Flood Risk Mitigation: C-||Wastewater: D|
This release accumulates a year-long effort of the 55-person committee from across Texas to bring attention to infrastructure importance. It is an outstanding advocacy tool for ASCE members to communicate with elected officials on both the State and Federal legislature members. For the entire report, visit infrastructurereportcard.org/texas and for more information the IRC Committee, please visit www.texasce.org/infrastructure-report-card.
2021 Texas State Legislative Dial-In
The traditional Texas State Legislative Drive-in was adjusted to a virtual Legislative Dial-in this year. The event kicked off in early February with an advocacy and public relations training and ended with a week’s long effort by ASCE members at the end of February. With our industry seeing a direct impact from the pandemic on infrastructure funding and a continual demand by our population, this will be a critical moment to ensure we are making progress on improvements necessary to serve everyone across Texas. Over 50 civil engineers from across the State took advantage of this outstanding opportunity to meet and discuss with legislature members on issues and our industry’s importance to everyone’s communities.
2021 Legislative Fly-In
In early March, a group of Texas Section members met virtually with the Federal Legislature members from Texas. These meetings were part of the ASCE Legislative Fly-In event held every year and are excellent chances to build on previous efforts, educate on the newly released State Report Card, and continue discussing the importance of infrastructure. The Fly-In is an annual event that is open to all members. Be on the lookout for the application in the fall and take advantage of being a part of next year’s events.
Lastly, we are always looking for ASCE members to join in our efforts, so if you or someone you know would be interested in being part of the Government Affairs Committee, do not hesitate to reach out to the committee at [email protected].