At a time when infrastructure is in the forefront of many minds on Capitol Hill, NUCA’s annual Washington Summit provided an excellent opportunity to remind lawmakers of the importance of maintaining and improving our nation’s underground utilities. More than 100 NUCA members hit the Hill on May 23 to impress upon Congress the growing need to invest in these assets and find new and creative ways to meet the challenges that we see every day.
During our visits, we advocated for increased and innovative funding mechanisms for water infrastructure, a solution to reliably fund the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) in the coming years, and legislation to address worker training to ensure that the American workforce is prepared build the next generation of infrastructure.
While most Members of Congress were generally receptive to and supportive of our priorities, the challenge continues to be the lack of decisive action on these issues. Nearly everyone agrees that we need to prevent the HTF from going broke and jeopardizing infrastructure projects—but Congress can’t agree on a way to pay for it. Nearly everyone recognizes that much of our drinking and wastewater infrastructure are failing – but with many competing interests, these needs haven’t received the attention they deserve. We therefore need to continue to communicate with Congress, highlight the importance of these challenges, and build on the commitments and assurances provided during our meetings by holding Congress accountable when there is an opportunity to move on these issues.
In addition to our Hill visits, members heard from lawmakers and other experts in the infrastructure and political arena during our Legislative Conference, the day prior to our Hill visits. Representative John Katko’s (R-N.Y) remarks offered an excellent breakdown of his efforts to advance legislation supporting funding for water infrastructure, including his own bill, the SRF WIN Act, as well as his thoughts on how Congress might be able to break through partisan gridlock to advance bipartisan goals. Members also had the chance to hear from Dean Franks, representing the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, who gave an informational presentation on President Trump’s infrastructure blueprint.
Looking forward, NUCA has an excellent opportunity to build on the relationships and contacts from our visits, and there are ways that you can maximize these efforts. First, by signing up to receive NUCA’s Political Insiders e-news, you will receive the most recent updates on activity in Congress, the administration, and regulatory agencies. This information will tie ongoing developments back to the issues and priorities discussed during our visits. Second, you can join NUCA’s Government Relations committee to offer your insight and expertise to shape our legislative efforts. This will help to ensure that NUCA is as responsive as possible to your needs and the needs of your day-to-day operations. Finally, please plan to attend NUCA’s 2019 Washington Summit! This event offers the opportunity to meet the lawmakers who represent you and work for you in Washington. These meetings and networking opportunities can start or continue relationship that will help ensure that your interests are represented in Congress.
To sign up for our Political Insiders e-news, please email Bryce@NUCA.com.
Bryce Mongeon is NUCA’s Director of Government Relations.