There were no cherry blossoms in DC this year due to the frigid temperatures, but hundreds of ASCE delegates descended on the capitol nonetheless. With the release of the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card fresh off the presses copies of the report card, state specific fact sheets and ASCE Issue Briefs were delivered to representatives from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. While there were areas of improvement, there were areas of decline, and the overall grade for America’s infrastructure remains a D+, the same as 2013.
ASCE’s key issues include:
Funding the FAST Act. The five-year FAST Act was passed in December 2015 but the approved increased funding levels have not been appropriated.
Triple the State Revolving Funds for clean water and drinking water. These self-sustaining fund pools offer low interest loans to states and municipalities for water projects.
Fund the Dam and Levee Safety Programs and the High Hazard Dam Rehabilitation Program. Again funding levels have been approved by Congress but have not been appropriated due to the use of continuing resolutions to fund the federal government.
Protect Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds. As a key tool for state and local government financing of infrastructure projects, the tax exempt status of municipal bonds must be preserved.
From the Oregon Section were Mark Libby, Past President, Larry Magura, R-8 Governor, and Greg DiLoreto, Chair of the Infrastructure Report Card Committee. We visited the offices of Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden, Representative Earl Blumenauer, and Representative Kurt Schrader. We also dropped off a packet at Representative Greg Walden’s office but did not have an appointment to get a visit.
Representative Blumenauer, an ASCE Honorary Fellow, came to our morning session to address the ASCE delegates and stated that he is submitting a bill for raising the federal gas tax by 15 cents per gallon.
If you’d like to get more involved in government relations and legislative issues, become a key contact (http://www.asce.org/keycontacts/) or contact our local Government Relations Chair Jerry Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.