Thank You to Our Sponsors:
Eastern Regional Younger Member Council (ERYMC) 2020
As you may know, the Philadelphia YMF is hosting the 2020 MRLC from January 31st - February 1st at the Philadelphia 201 Hotel. We're looking to build some excitement throughout Region 2 via social media so we're asking that if your Section has a Facebook account, please like the ERMYC 2020 Page and/or share the "sneak peek" video. There are ERYMC 2020 Twitter and Instagram accounts set up as well.
2018 PA Infrastructure Report Card Anniversary: Year in Review
According to a new poll from Build Together, a nonpartisan organization, 91% of voters in Pennsylvania support a plan to invest trillions of dollars over the next decade to rebuild and modernize infrastructure (1). Last year, the 2018 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure gave the state an overall GPA of C-, with infrastructure categories Stormwater, Wastewater, Drinking Water, and Inland Waterways highlighted as opportunities for improvement. The Report Card intends to serve the public by “educating Pennsylvanians about the status of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure so they can, in conjunction with elected officials, make educated decisions on how to prioritize funds to meet current and future needs. The Report Card also makes recommendations to owners and civil engineers on how improve the state’s infrastructure” (2). Although a comprehensive federal infrastructure package has not been passed in the year since the release of the Report Card, as had been expected, efforts to improve continue in Pennsylvania.
The following accomplishments have been completed since the release of the 2018 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure last November:
- Bucks and Montgomery County residents, along with Horsham officials, have nearly completed their ambitious project to build six water filtration systems to remove PFAS contamination (3) related to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, now closed.
- Aqua Pennsylvania completed an $8 million wastewater plant rehabilitation in Treasure Lake (4). Additionally, Aqua plans to invest $550 million in 2019 for the communities it serves [Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia] with infrastructure investments of roughly $1.4 billion through 2021 in existing operations that will rehabilitate and strengthen systems (5).
- In our legislature:
- Around the time the Report Card was released, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (S. 3021 (155)) was passed into law (6).
- April 2019, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed Restore Pennsylvania, a comprehensive $4.5 billion infrastructure plan (7).
- May 2019, PA House Bill 1392 was introduced to, “amend Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in size, weight and load, further providing for maximum gross weight of vehicles; in liquid fuels and fuels tax, further providing for definitions and providing for electric vehicle road use fee; and making editorial changes” (8).
- More recently, Representative Mike Kelly was a lead co-sponsor on the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act (H.R. 2440) which was passed by the U.S House of Representatives (9).
- On October 29, 2019 the U.S House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act (H.R. 1497) by voice vote. The bill would reauthorize and increase funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program, an essential tool for communities to provide safe water for residents and businesses. The bill would also extend the authorization of sewer overflow control grants and enable communities to better manage their wet weather flows and invest in green infrastructure, stormwater diversion/infiltration, water and energy efficiency projects (10).
- In the November election, Philadelphia voters approved a local ballot question authorizing the city to borrow $185 million in capital funding for infrastructure projects (11).
Although much work remains to be done, ASCE is encouraged by the progress made in 2019 and looks forward to advancing the efforts in the next year.
To read the full Report Card, learn more, and take action - visit: http://www.pareportcard.org/PARC2018/default.html#
Also, follow the ASCE Philadelphia Section on any of our platforms for the featured Category of the Month and use #ASCEPAReportCard and #InfrastructureMatters when sharing.
- Israel, Steve, and Ryan Costello. “Infrastructure Is the One Issue Washington Needs to Focus On.” TheHill, The Hill, 31 Oct. 2019, https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/468300-infrastructure-is-the-one-iss....
- “Report Card for Pennsylvania's Infrastructure.” Pennsylvania Council, American Society of Civil Engineers, 14 Nov. 2018, http://www.pareportcard.org/PARC2018/downloads/ASCE-PA-report_2018.pdf.
- McDaniel, Justine, and Laura McCrystal. “How Three Towns Outside Philly Became 'Trailblazers' on Clean Drinking Water.” Https://Www.inquirer.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 Aug. 2019, https://www.inquirer.com/news/horsham-pfas-wells-warminster-water-contam....
- Haskins, Elaine. “Aqua Pa. Cuts Ribbon on Newly Rehabilitated Treasure Lake West Wastewater Treatment Plant.” TheCourierExpress.com, 8 Nov. 2019, http://www.thecourierexpress.com/news/aqua-pa-cuts-ribbon-on-newly-rehab....
- “Aqua America Reports Financial Results for Q3 2019.” Business Wire, 4 Nov. 2019, https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191104006044/en/Aqua-America-Re....
- Klobuchar, and Amy. “S.3021 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.” Congress.gov, 23 Oct. 2018, https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3021.
- Hughes, Sarah Anne, et al. “Restore Pennsylvania, Explained: Everything You Need to Know about Gov. Tom Wolf's Infrastructure Plan: Pennsylvania Capital.” Star, 14 June 2019, https://www.penncapital-star.com/energy-environment/restore-pennsylvania....
- Legislativate Data Processing Center. “Bill Information (History) - House Bill 1392; Regular Session 2019-2020.” The Official Website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly., https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=201....
- “Investing in America: Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act: The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.” Issues | Committee Activity | The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, https://transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/investing-in-america....
- “Water Infrastructure Bills Advance in House.” CitiesSpeak, 5 Nov. 2019, https://citiesspeak.org/2019/11/05/water-infrastructure-bills-advance-in-house/.
- Madej, Patricia, and Anna Orso. “Marsy's Law Got Wide Support in Pa., Even Though It Won't Count Yet.” Https://Www.inquirer.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 Nov. 2019, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/philadelphia-2019-ballot-ques....
Leaders Call for Federal Infrastructure Investment
On November 1, Section Past President and PA Report Card Co-Chair Cathy Farrell was invited to a press event with local dignitaries and public officials to highlight the need for passage of a comprehensive federal infrastructure package. This bipartisan call for increased funding that will support union jobs, strengthening of the middle class, and continued environmental health and safety, was conducted at the Cornwells Heights SEPTA Regional Rail station in Bensalem, abutting I-95 and the nearby Delaware River.
Among the speakers at this event were Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick and Brendan Boyle, former Congressman Ryan Costello, SEPTA General Manager (and Section Member) Jeffrey Knueppel, and community leaders. In addition to lifting up the need for federal mass transit investments, speakers discussed the necessity of improving local drinking water systems and wastewater treatment, bolstering high-speed rail, modernizing schools and the state’s electrical grid, rebuilding roads and bridges, investing in local airports and ports, and increasing flood resilience.
In her remarks, Cathy noted, “Most of us take infrastructure for granted in our daily lives – the systems that deliver clean water to our taps, prevent our neighborhoods from flooding, provide essential mobility and process our trash once it’s picked up from the curb. Infrastructure moves our economy – when the power goes out, we’re not working, when the roads are congested people aren’t earning or shopping. As civil engineers, we urge an all-hands-on-deck approach that will involve state, local and federal governments to take action, to increase investment in infrastructure and to make it priority number one.”
The press conference was hosted by Build Together as the first stop in its nationwide listening tour growing grassroots support for federal infrastructure investments by elevating local impacts across the country. The tour launches on the heels of new polling and focuses group findings, which show an overwhelming majority of swing-state voters support a robust federal infrastructure plan, including 91% of voters polled in Pennsylvania.
2018 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure Has Been Unveiled!
The eighteen categories of infrastructure earned an overall grade of "C-". You can learn more, and read the full report, by visiting http://www.pareportcard.org/.
Government and Policy Update
Starting this month, ASCE Philadelphia will be keeping all of us updated on Government and Policy issues that impact us, our professions, our projects, and our communities.
This month, ASCE is following the budget debate in Harrisburg, which as usual is contentious. For our full write-up by Spencer Finch, please visit our New Government and Policy Update Page!
Once you catch up on the happenings in Harrisburg, PLEASE contact your elected officials and let them know your opinion. It is as easy as one click and one email away: Contact your elected official.
If you would like more information, or would like help writing your message, please contact ASCE Philadelphia’s Government Affairs Team: Ann Tomalavage, Bob Wirght, or Spencer Finch.
Haven’t received your copy of the ASCE Philadelphia Section’s Centennial Book yet? Don’t miss out on your chance to order while supplies last. Preview pages from this book, as well as order the book by visiting our Centennial Book page!
Thanks to Our Section Sponsors - Starting Our 29th Season!
When we first rolled out our sponsorship program at the start of the 1991-92 season, a total of nine “pioneer” firms participated:
- BCM Engineers Inc.
- Lippincott Engineering Associates
- National Timber Piling Council
- Pennoni Associates, Inc.
- Pickering Corts & Summerson, Inc.
- The RBA Group
- Reutter Engineering
- Temple University
- J. Richard Weggel, PhD, PE
Some of these sound familiar, some are no longer. This season, we have begun our 29th year of the Section Sponsorship program. Thus far, 12 companies have committed to be participate for this season. We extend our special and collective THANKS to each sponsor for their financial commitment and support.
As a sponsor, your business card will appear in each edition of THE NEWS from October through May. Sponsor logos are displayed in a special Sponsors section of our website. Additionally, we provide direct links to sponsors’ own websites so prospective employees can review all available and up-to-date positions. We also offer sponsors the opportunity to have a “spotlight” article in an edition of THE NEWS.
If you would like to join, renew or come back after a few years away, we look forward to bringing you into the Section Sponsor fold. All this could be yours for a mere $300 for the season.
Please contact Bob Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Special Offer on ASCE webinars for Philadelphia Section Members
Did you know that as a Philadelphia Section member you get a discount on ASCE National Webinars? Plus some of the registration fee comes back to help fund other Section activities!
Live Webinars: http://mylearning.asce.org/diweb/catalog/t/2125/c/79
ASCE's live webinars provide cost-effective training for large and small groups. Use Promo Code WEBPHISEC to secure your preferred rate.
On-Demand Webinars: http://mylearning.asce.org/diweb/catalog/t/2135/c/79
ASCE's on-demand webinars provide real-world knowledge and convenient delivery to fit your demanding schedule. Use Promo Code WEBPHISEC to secure your preferred rate.
Visit our EVENTS PAGE for all upcoming events.
President's Message - December 2019
Is the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) only for roadway and bridge engineers? No, absolutely not. ASCE represents all Civil engineers.
From my years of involvement with the ASCE Philadelphia Section, it was evident that there is a stereotype associated with our group. It was easy to see how the stereotype developed - roadways and bridges are large parts of the industry, so there are more engineers employed focusing on those topics. At the same time, our peers are doing great work in geotechnical, water resources, construction, and many more, but we may not be immediately exposed to their work. More than likely, we are passing by their contributions on our way to work, but we just didn’t pay attention to the details.
To combat this stereotype, our Section is taking an active approach to highlight the many and different disciplines within Civil Engineering. Our October dinner meeting addressed roadway and drainage (and mitigation to make the improvements beneficial to the stakeholders), while our November dinner meeting focused on Airports. We are also gearing up to cover topics on resiliency, building structures, and rails in 2020.
November 14th marked the 1-year anniversary of the unveiling of the “2018 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure”. With the help of many volunteers from Sections across the state, we gathered information on categories, such as Aviation, Energy, Dams, Parks and Recreation, Solid Waste, Transit, and many more. I encourage you all to review our 2018 Report Card and share with your peers. While learning the state of PA’s infrastructure, you will also learn the different disciplines ASCE represents.
Kazi M. Hassan, PE
President, ASCE Philadelphia Section