TexASCE Members Meet with Legislators via Conference in Lieu of Fly-In
Every spring, ASCE holds its Legislative Fly-In program in Washington, D.C. The intensive two-day program provides participants with an inside look at the public policy process. ASCE members attend briefing sessions on key legislation in Congress, receive training on lobbying and influencing elected leaders, and network with peers across the county.
This year however, due to health safety concerns, the program was cancelled as the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and Capitol Hill cancelled scheduled meetings. As difficult of a decision as it was, it was the right one for our members, and we are thankful to our ASCE leaders.
Although the Fly-In was cancelled, ASCE moved forward via a webinar briefing, and the Texas Section scheduled conference calls with available legislators. Texas Section members met through a conference call with Senator Ted Cruz’s staff and discussed the following issues from ASCE’s briefing:
On Resilient Infrastructure, we mentioned ASCE supports initiatives that increase resilience and noted the metric is used for grading our infrastructure. We then asked the Senator to support H.R. 3779, Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act, which passed out of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Regarding Reauthorization of Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 2020), ASCE members informed staff on the status of the act, the need to maintain it and ASCE’s position. Additionally, we asked for support of H.R.1497, Water Quality Protection & Job Creation Act of 2019, and H.R.2440, Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act, as Add-Ons to the WRDA 2020 via an amendment.
The Surface Transportation Infrastructure Funding discussion included the expiring FAST Act and fixing the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) by raising the motor fuels user tax by 5 cents per gallon for the next five years and indexing to inflation. We also discussed support of America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, which reauthorizes FAST Act programs and creates new surface transportation programs.
Candid and transparent discussion with staff provided insight on thoughts, concerns and opportunities to assist the Senator with his infrastructure priorities. As trusted advisors we need to understand positions and then inform and educate on infrastructure. In sharing this experience, we hope it will encourage you to reach out to your elected official, be of service and influence on behalf of ASCE.
Be safe and thank you for your support!