PART 2 – A Recap of the Legislative Fly-In and Congressional Visits
Every spring, ASCE holds its Legislative Fly-In in Washington, DC, an exclusive and intensive two-day event providing participants with professional development in honing their skills in the public policy process and advocacy, as well as valuable peer-to-peer networking with fellow ASCE Key Contacts. Members who engage in advocacy aren’t just doing a favor for ASCE— they are also building valuable personal skills that will help advance their career.
In addition to accepting the Outstanding Civil Engineering Advocate Team Award on behalf of the Pittsburgh Section at Thursday’s breakfast, Immediate Past President Jonathan Shimko, and Section PR Chair Jodi S. Klebick spent time alongside Pittsburgh Section members David DiGioa, T&DI Chair, and Greg Scott PE, PMP, Government Relations Chair, participating in numerous events at the 2023 Legislative Fly-In from March 1-3.
A round up of some of those opportunities included a Welcome from ASCE President Maria Lehman, P.E.; keynotes from Administrator Shailen Bhatt of the Federal Highway Administration, and Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; workshops such as Storytelling Training by Brad Fitch, President and CEO, Congressional Management Foundation, and Storytelling with Local Media by Joe St. George, National Political Editor, Scripps News. Other opportunities included Issue Briefings on: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, Resilient infrastructure, and National Dam Safety Program reauthorization. Additional panel discussions were also held, as well as time given for representatives from each state to network and coordinate their state’s legislative outreach efforts as part of the Fly-In.
A total of ten ASCE representatives from the Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, and Central PA Sections coordinated their outreach efforts for legislative visits. Individuals attended in-person meetings with their respective Representatives and the entire Pennsylvania team attended in-person meetings with legislative aides from the offices of Senators Casey and Senator Fetterman. The key points the ASCE advocates made with every Congressional they made were:
- Approve a bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill before the program expires on September 30, 2023 which will increase the Airport Improvement Program and eliminate the federal cap on the Passenger Facility Charge, and accommodate alternative delivery and advanced construction methods to expedite projects and reduce costs.
- Support the development, adoption and enforcement of a national model building code as a key method of creating disaster resilient communities; fully fund FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program; and the reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program.
- Reauthorize the National Dam Safety Program through at least 2028; increase its authorized funding to $43 million annually; and remove current statutory limitations on states receiving more than 50% of costs to implement state dam safety programs, which will assist smaller state programs.