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An Unprecedented Year for Infrastructure Week

04 Jun 2015 10:14 AM | ASCE Blog Editor (Administrator)

Article by Emily Feenstra, ASCE-National

Now in its 3rd year, Infrastructure Week is a national week of high-profile events, media coverage, focused advocacy, and other efforts around the country to build momentum for revitalization of America’s economic competitiveness through rebuilding American infrastructure. Led by groups representing America’s business, labor, and policy-making leadership, Infrastructure Week convened an unprecedented, broad, non-partisan, coalition united around the message that investing in infrastructure is Investing in America’s Economy.

Monday kicked off with Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the heads of the AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others addressing business and policy leaders at Bloomberg Government in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Infrastructure Week Steering Committee. The day included discussions on infrastructure financing, and events in Pennsylvania and Ohio. On Tuesday the discussion continued with events on public-private partnerships and regional planning, but the message of Infrastructure Week took on an unexpected urgency after an Amtrak train derailed outside of Philadelphia

Wednesday morning, scores of advocates, mayors, state legislators, labor and manufacturing leaders gathered in front of the Capitol and held a press conference demanding Congress take action. Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood reminded the crowd that Congress is failing to display vision and courage, and we shouldn’t wait for another bridge to collapse or transportation catastrophe. National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO delivered the perspective of American manufacturing, and LiUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan echoed that messaging from labor’s perspective. Throughout the week, advocates, mayors, state legislators held more than 300 meetings with congressional offices about the need for long-term infrastructure investment. With non-stop coverage of the Amtrak accident, media attention for Infrastructure Week spiked. As Infrastructure Week events across the country continued on Thursday and Friday, the media story became about more than the specific Amtrak derailment. Outlets from CNN and NPR to the Daily News and New Yorker started covering the broader lacking infrastructure investment in the country. 60 Minutes, the number one rated news program in the U.S., even announced that it will re-air its segment “Falling Apart,” which originally ran in 2014.

The message of Infrastructure Week was always about addressing challenges facing U.S. infrastructure, to demand we move beyond short-term fixes and deferred maintenance. But just a day after the fatal Amtrak derailment, Congress still voted to slash funding for Amtrak. Meanwhile we inch closer to a bankrupt Highway Trust Fund and Congress is poised to pass the 34th short term extension of highway funding in six years. We need to move beyond the “patch and pray” funding that we’ve accepted for far too long. It is time for innovative solutions, technologies, policies and investments that will bring America’s aging infrastructure into the 21st century.

The core Steering Committee of Infrastructure Week is comprised of the following organizations:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Brookings Institution
  • Building America’s Future
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Quick Stats and Summary:

  • 92 Affiliate organizations spanning the public and private sectors, manufacturers and financial services firms, labor groups and planning organizations, trade associations and local chambers of commerce. (IW14 had 30)
  • 47 events around America, including 25 events in Washington, D.C., and ~20 events in states and on the web.
  • 27 Mayors flew in to Washington, D.C. to take the issue to Members of Congress – including Mayors Bill De Blasio (New York City), Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City), Ralph Becker (Salt Lake City), Tom Tait (Anaheim), Frank Cownie (Des Moines, IA)
  • 80 mayors participated in district
  • Infrastructure Week hill efforts achieved more than 300 meetings with House/Senate Members/offices
  • Engagement on twitter established 41 million impressions using #RebuildRenew and #InfrastructureWeek
  • Participation from the Vice President of the United States (launch event), U.S. Secretary of Transportation (launch event and multiple events across the country throughout the week), Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez (multiple events), Senate and House leadership, House T&I committee leadership, Senate EPW Committee leadership, and more.

Cities/States with IWeek events (multiple events in some cities)

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Indianapolis, IN

  • New Orleans, LA
  • Boston, MA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • New York, NY
  • Harrisburg, PA

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Memphis, TN
  • Arlington, VA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Cleveland, OH

Social Media Summary

#RebuildRenew 4,871 Twitter mentions by 2,385 users, leading to 22 million impressions

#InfrastructureWeek 4,081 Twitter mentions by 2,239 users, leading to 19 million impressions

Wednesday’s online Rally to Rebuild America reached more than 800,000 impressions on Facebook

Word cloud of what people were talking about using each hashtag:

Geographic Engagement

Map of IWeek Events (multiple events in some states)

Map of Mayoral Participation Red = 27 Mayors flying into Washington, D.C. Blue = 80 Mayors participating in District 

Infrastructure Week 2015 Affiliates

  • 1776
  • Airports Council International
  • All Aboard Florida
  • Allegheny Conference on Community Development
  • Alliance for American Manufacturing
  • Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure
  • America’s Natural Gas Alliance
  • American Action Forum
  • American Association of Port Authorities
  • American Association of Retired Persons
  • American Automobile Association
  • American Concrete Pavement Association
  • American Highway Users Alliance
  • American Institute of Architects
  • American Iron and Steel Institute
  • American Planning Association
  • American Public Transit Association
  • American Traffic Safety Services Association
  • American Trucking Associations
  • Association for Commuter Transportation
  • Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure
  • Association of American Railroads
  • Baker McKenzie
  • Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Bloomberg Government
  • Business Forward
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Capital Region Water
  • Center for American Progress
  • Center for Transportation Excellence

  • City of Philadelphia Water Department
  • Cleveland Water Department
  • Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors
  • Colorado Contractors Association
  • Colorado Municipal League
  • Common Good
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Council of State Governments
  • Covington and Burling
  • DC Pace
  • Dow Water and Process Solutions
  • Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority
  • ENO Center for Transportation
  • George Mason Center for Transportation P3 Policy
  • Georgia Transportation Alliance
  • The Hamilton Project
  • HNTB Companies
  • Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress
  • Infrastructure USA
  • International Bridge, Tunnel, and Tolling Association
  • Innovation NewsBriefs
  • LiUNA
  • Los Angeles Metro
  • McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute
  • Metropolitan Planning Council
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
  • Miller Center at the University of Virginia
  • Minnesota Transportation Alliance
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Association of Railroad Passengers
  • National Association of Regional Councils

  • National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors
  • National Center for Public Private Partnerships
  • National Council of State Legislatures
  • National Electrical Contractors Association
  • National Governor’s Association
  • National League of Cities
  • National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association
  • NationSwell
  • New Jersey Future
  • The Northeast Maglev
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
  • Nossaman LLP
  • Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce
  • Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • Regional Plan Association
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • Siemens
  • Smart Cities Council
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Transportation For America
  • Trucking Moves America Forward
  • Traffic21
  • U.S. Travel Association
  • University of California Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics
  • Urban Ingenuity
  • Value of Water Coalition
  • Vision Long Island
  • West Coast Infrastructure Exchange
  • Young Professionals in Transportation


  • 04 Jun 2015 11:50 AM | N. Catherine Bazán-Arias
    34th extension! "Patch and pray" funding. Yes, we need to move from that.

    Wonder if ASCE nationally and regionally needs to develop a more effective strategy - Continuing to highlight the infrastructure through social media? Groom legislators, congress people and - who knows - a future President?

    Thinking outside the box - again - may be required...
    Link  •  Reply
  • 04 Jun 2015 12:19 PM | Greg Scott
    Leadership has become rare indeed in DC in today's political climate. While we can look forward to finding leadership, ultimately the public has to demand better maintained infrastructure.

    The road to educate and inform the public on infrastructure is long (and evidently full of potholes) but the discussion has been growing louder. There is a car commercial out that talks about bad roads and how the car's suspension can take it. When bad roads are taken as a new normal, the next corner is "we are not going to take this anymore!"

    Keep faith and keep talking to everyone you know.
    Link  •  Reply
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