News

Bizier Represents ASCE and Barge Design Solutions in D.C.

17 / April / 2019

Nashville, Tenn. - Over 250 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) members from 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, arrived last month on Capitol Hill to advocate for infrastructure investment and the civil engineering community. Barge Design Solutions' Paul Bizier, P.E. (*FL, GA, TN, TX) Senior Engineering Manager, was selected to be part of the Tennessee Delegation for the ASCE Legislative Fly-In.

ASCE members met with roughly 330 congressional offices during the Fly-In. Bizier met with senior staff for Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn and Representative Steve Cohen to discuss infrastructure funding. The message shared was that failing to close the infrastructure investment gap means higher costs for businesses to manufacture and distribute goods and provide services. In turn, these higher costs get passed along to workers and families.

On Wednesday, Representatives Earl Blumenauer  and Rodney Davis  provided insights on what legislators hope to hear from constituents and the current status of a federal infrastructure package before the Tennessee Delegation headed out to make visits to members of Congress.

Armed with everyday civil engineering experiences, issue briefings from the ASCE Government Relations team, and insight from keynote speakers, Bizier and the Tennessee Delegation spent Wednesday afternoon walking through three House office buildings and the Dirksen Senate office building to meet with Congressional members and their staff. The delegation was advocating for a 25-cent per gallon motor fuel tax increase to help fix the Highway Trust Fund, fully appropriating key infrastructure programs in FY2020 as well as urging Members of Congress to follow ASCE’s Principles for Investment as they draft a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Many of the programs for which funding was requested directly impact Barge, as they include programs such as Flood Hazard Mitigation, State Revolving Funds for water and wastewater, and dam safety, as well as transportation funding.

Paul was tasked with speaking about the need to increase appropriations for water and wastewater infrastructure. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund provide low-cost financing and financial assistance to utilities for water quality infrastructure projects. ASCE is requesting that current appropriations be tripled for both funds. Additionally, Paul spoke to the congressmen about the need to appropriate more funding for the Drinking Water Needs Survey and the Clean Watersheds Survey. These surveys are completed by the EPA and are essential to Congress having the data it needs to maintain and improve the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.