It certainly was not the week anyone expected, but even as concerns over COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 ASCE Legislative Fly-In, Society members made their advocacy voices heard.
ASCE members participated in the Week of Action, urging their senators and representatives through email to invest in a modern, resilient infrastructure for America. ASCE set a goal of sending 3,000 emails to Congress this week.
“One of the greatest powers we have as an organization is being able to speak with one voice and make ourselves heard – whether it’s on Capitol Hill, in the state houses, your local mayor’s office or at your next-door neighbor’s house,” said ASCE Past President Robin A. Kemper, who championed the Week of Action advocacy push.
“If action is not taken with necessary funding and innovation, we will not be able to maintain our infrastructure and our quality of life. And it’s our responsibility, as civil engineers, to make sure that message is heard.”
The Legislative Fly-In, ASCE’s flagship annual advocacy event, this year attracted a record number of applicants and was set to bring more than 260 ASCE members from all 50 states and Puerto Rico to Washington, D.C., for over 300 meetings with Congress. However, as the week began, it was clear that the spread of coronavirus around the country would make the regular set of Congressional meetings impossible.
“Safety is ASCE’s foremost concern, particularly with the unique circumstances of the Fly-In, where our members would be traveling around Congressional offices to meet and greet legislators and their staff,” said ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith.
“With infrastructure part of the national conversation during this election year, we were disappointed to have to cancel the Fly-In, but we are delighted that ASCE members are nevertheless weighing in – speaking with a unified voice by participating in the Week of Action and via in-district visits.”
ASCE’s advocacy efforts for 2020 are focused on highlighting the need for infrastructure investment, including advocating for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 2020), reauthorization of surface transportation programs and resilient infrastructure.
The Society also continues to prepare its 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, which will grade 17 categories of infrastructure and is set to be released in February 2021.