Legislative Update – October 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.
2021 CECON’s Legislative Panel
The Legislative Panel is always one of the top attractions at the ASCE Texas Section’s annual Civil Engineering Conference (CECON). This event hosted Texas legislature panel to discuss all things at the intersection of civil engineering and politics. Moderated by ASCE National President Jean-Louis Briaud PhD, PE, in attendance, were Texas Senator Kel Seliger (District 31) and Texas Representatives Dennis Paul PE (District 129), and Alex Dominguez (District 37). They answered questions regarding the 2021 Texas ASCE Infrastructure Report Card, gas tax and long-term funding, to their concerns and needs for Texas to continue to prosper. These responses provided an extraordinary session to hear the Senator and both Representatives discuss these items with our civil engineering community. All the panelists agreed on the value we have as constituents to help contribute to the legislative process. Each of the legislators implored the audience to connect and communicate with members of the legislature and make them aware of important issues, infrastructure-related and beyond. This reinforces the significance that we have as civil engineers in our communities, especially the impacts that committees such as ASCE’s State and Local Branches of the Government Affairs committees have on improving the quality of life.
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Many of us who follow the national news have seen the debates among members of the 117th Congress of the United States. These debates have delayed passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). As of this writing, the Bill set for a House vote on September 27th has been delayed till October 31st, along with a temporary, 30-day extension for surface transportation programs. Most of us are aware of these consequences of Congresses’ failure to act on both accords. That is why ASCE has asked for us as civil engineers and constituents to contact our members of Congress to urge them to vote “yes” on the IIJA to help bring additional funding for infrastructure to Texas.
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].