Bridges, roads, potholes — this is what usually comes to mind when people think of “infrastructure.” While fixing and rebuilding America’s infrastructure remains one of the greatest national challenges, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has led the way for years in prioritizing and shaping the national discussion as to why investing in infrastructure can help the country lead into the 21st century.
Every four years, ASCE, which represents more than 150,000 members in 177 countries, puts together an Infrastructure Report Card for the United States to show the condition of America’s bridges, roads, ports, and 14 other categories. They assign grades from A+ to F based on eight key criteria and then develop a set of specific recommendations to help raise those scores. The result is an award-winning report card that works as a hybrid of advocacy efforts, the utilization of technology solutions, and true data-driven lobbying.
This year, America’s infrastructure score on the ASCE Report Card climbed to a C-. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a grade outside of the D range. We’re one of the primary champions for investing and advocating for reinvestment in infrastructure across the country,” says Anna Denecke, director of infrastructure initiatives at ASCE.
Small Team, Big Results
While ASCE’s report card has shown the country has made some progress between 2017 and 2021, a C- is still nowhere near a grade to be proud of, and the organization believes the time to invest in more resilient infrastructure is now. To do this, ASCE turned to FiscalNote to help mobilize its members and take on a proactive approach to monitoring legislation affecting the infrastructure community across the country.
Using FiscalNote’s state bill tracking and advocacy solutions, ASCE is able to identify key pieces of legislation affecting the infrastructure space and activate their membership to take action by directly emailing or tweeting to their elected officials about America’s “C-” infrastructure.
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On the ASCE Report Card website, those eager to take action can easily enter their name, address, and email, to be automatically matched to their lawmakers, including senators, representatives, state governor, and more. They can then use the pre-populated message from ASCE, or edit it to tell their own story to register concern about the infrastructure in their state, or the country as a whole.
“Our grassroots team is a person and a half, so the ability to track legislation effectively and activate our key contacts is really important so that we can manage this large portfolio of issues. FiscalNote allows us to look at hundreds of bills all at once and get ahead of the threats to our industry,” according to Denecke.
Additionally, FiscalNote’s client success and account management teams have been instrumental as ASCE’s team has evolved over the years. “As we’ve had team members leave throughout the years, having a FiscalNote customer success team that is dedicated to helping us keep that internal knowledge and bringing us up to speed with everything is key to our success,” says Denecke.
Using their gold standard and evergreen report card, combined with FiscalNote’s advocacy and legislative monitoring solutions, ASCE has been incredibly effective at increasing general awareness about the role infrastructure plays in supporting our daily lives and keeping our economy competitive.
Building In Action
The membership team is always looking for results and for direct impact to prove their ROI. ASCE’s grassroots and legislative efforts have resulted in several recent wins that have advanced their legislative and regulatory cause of creating a safer country.
“There was a bill called the STORM Act which was designed to proactively invest in resilience infrastructure and provide financial tools to municipalities and cities to withstand increasingly difficult storms and weather-related disasters. The STORM Act was held up in Congress, but through FiscalNote, we were able to activate our key contacts to remove the hold and ultimately pass the legislation. There were several advocacy groups pushing this bill, and having our constituents reaching out to specific Senators to remove their hold was an important step and bill to pass,” says Denecke.
With FiscalNote, ASCE is able to use its Infrastructure Report Card as an online advocacy tool to educate, engage, mobilize and grow a community of grassroots advocates to support or oppose legislation and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels.
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