Legislative Update – December 2021
Written & compiled by Austin Messerli PE, Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair
The ASCE Texas Section’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has been hard at work planning various events, educating the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (A/E/C) industry, and working with members of the Texas legislature across the State. Despite the challenges we are all facing, the Texas Section GAC has not wavered in working to meet the needs of our members by contacting our policymakers to educate and advocate on behalf of Texas Civil Engineers.
The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act
After a few months of deliberating, Congress has passed, and the President signed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA). The passing of the IIJA was a great step forward on infrastructure spending and the most significant long-term investment in nearly a century. With a total of $1.2 trillion invested over five years and improvements across all 17 ASCE Report Card categories, the impacts will improve everyone’s lives across the Country. A few highlights from the Legislation include:
- New programs for bridge repair, rehabilitation, and replacement;
- Projects to reduce the backlog of transit rehabilitation needs;
- The largest investment in clean water infrastructure in our history;
- Rehabilitation of high-hazard potential dams; and,
- Projects to address capacity challenges in airport terminals.
According to fact sheets issued by the White House, the State of Texas will receive:
- $26.9 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs;
- $537 million for bridge replacement and repairs;
- $3.3 billion for public transportation;
- $2.9 billion for drinking water infrastructure; and,
- $1.2 billion to modernize and enhance airports.
The list above is only a few of the anticipated impacts as the State will see funding for broadband internet improvements, fighting and preventing wildfires, and improved weatherization methods. These are only a few highlights of the many benefits that Texas will see from the passing of the IIJA. As civil engineers, we should be increasingly proud that we get to put this Legislation into action and lead the charge in helping the State and County improve its infrastructure and the quality of life for everyone.
Legislature Fly-In 2022
The 2022 Legislative Fly-In is an outstanding opportunity to join and be proactive in the public policy process and a chance to interact directly with Capitol Hill staff. This year’s event is a planned hybrid event, with attendees having the option to participate in person or virtually. Mark your calendars for the events on March 2-4, 2022, in Washington DC. The 2022 Fly-In program includes:
- Meetings on the Hill with your Members of Congress or their staff;
- Exclusive briefing sessions on key legislative activities in Congress and ASCE’s legislative priorities;
- Interactive training on lobbying and influencing your elected leaders — including pre-event webinars;
- Networking with your ASCE peers from across the country;
- A Younger Member Program designed to prepare you as an emerging leader; and,
- Tips on continuing relationships with your elected officials once you return home
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].