The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently celebrated two commemorative events, which share a common theme: investments in infrastructure resilience are key to a safe and prosperous future for all Americans. Two years ago, President Biden signed into law the transformative $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is the largest-ever investment in our nation’s built environment. However, this timing also marks the 33rd anniversary of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), a program that was established to assist communities nationwide in developing and implementing stormwater control measures. To mark this anniversary, we are joining the celebration of the inaugural “National Stormwater Day,” an initiative to draw awareness to stormwater pollution and applaud nationwide efforts to combat stormwater challenges. Both anniversaries get to the heart of ASCE’s key goal, ensuring that infrastructure investments build on the resilience of communities nationwide in the face of increasingly sever weather events.
“ASCE continues to draw awareness to the importance of infrastructure resilience through the passage of important legislation like the PRECIP Act and the implementation of the IIJA, and has undertaken our Engineering and Public Works Roadshow series, which recently spotlighted a transformative flood-prevention facility in Dallas, Texas,” says Marsia Geldert-Murphey, ASCE President. “National Stormwater Day and the anniversary of the IIJA provides a wonderful opportunity to further educate the public on these issues, as robust, reliable stormwater infrastructure systems are essential to keeping American communities safe.”
ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure included a category on stormwater infrastructure for the first time since the Report Card series began in 1998. The category was given a grade of “D” – one of the lowest in the report card Adding stormwater to the list of infrastructure categories covered by ASCE’s national and state report cards heightens public awareness of current conditions, serving as an important advocacy tool for prioritizing these critical systems.
The IIJA addressed many of the recommendations made in the Report Card and made historic investments in the resilience of our nation’s infrastructure systems, investing more than $50 billion. However, the bill also furthered the goals we celebrate during National Stormwater Day, addressing stormwater pollution and providing $280 million annually for stormwater reuse grants and sanitary sewer overflows.
To continue this dialogue and recognize the advancements we are making in resilient and sustainable infrastructure, this week ASCE is holding the first ever INSPIRE Conference in Arlington, Va. The conference focuses on resilient, sustainable, future-ready solutions to the built environment, ensuring we’re prepared for severe climate events and provides infrastructure leaders an opportunity to discuss actionable solutions for these wide-ranging challenges.
As we celebrate these investments in the nation’s infrastructure, ASCE stands ready to continue to work with policymakers to ensure we prioritize the resilience of our critical systems.