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ACEC News / Advocacy

March 22, 2021

ACEC Chair Charlie Gozdziewski’s Op-Ed in The Hill Newspaper Calls on Congress to Act on Infrastructure

ACEC Chair Charlie Gozdziewski's Op-Ed in The Hill Newspaper Calls on Congress to Act on Infrastructure

ACEC Chair Charlie Gozdziewski wrote an opinion piece published in The Hill newspaper urging Congress to fund a long-term, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure package.

Our nation’s critical infrastructure is dangerously vulnerable

Why now is the time for Congress to act.

By Charles J. Gozdziewski

The recent historic snowfall in Texas and the ensuing failure of the state’s power grid have laid bare what we in the engineering industry have known for a long time — our nation’s critical infrastructure is dangerously vulnerable to a wide range of threats. We must act quickly and comprehensively to make our infrastructure more resilient because those threats will only become more severe in the future.

While the focus right now is justifiably on the energy sector and the power grid, all of our nation’s infrastructure systems — transportation, water, and power — are at risk from extreme weather. Climate change lies at the heart of this challenge, and to mitigate its effects, we must have robust investment to fund the design and construction of the resilient infrastructure our country needs.

As engineers, infrastructure is who we are. It is critically entwined in everything we do — from embracing smart cities, to establishing safe protocols in buildings for a post-COVID world, to preparing for the much needed Fourth Industrial Revolution. The need for resilience, sustainability, reliability, and flexibility will become even more vital as we move into the future.

As leaders in the engineering and design industry, we have both a stake in and a valuable perspective on the policy discussion on infrastructure. Moreover, we are a critical partner in the implementation of that policy and the repair and upgrading of all aspects of our physical infrastructure — including roads, bridges, freight rail, ports, electrical grids, and Internet provision. Each of these components is critical to the health of our physical and built environment.

Yet our expertise is worth nothing if the public sector clients we serve lack certainty from the federal government that there will be consistent, predictive funding in place to finance the infrastructure improvements we need. No designs will be drawn up and no dirt will be moved. It is imperative that our federal lawmakers act on a transformative infrastructure plan before the current law expires in September.

Investing now in a long-term infrastructure bill will pay dividends, not only to mitigate the effects of a changing climate, but to help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Engineers play a substantial role in the health of the national economy. According to the ACEC Research Institute’s Industry Impact Series of reports, the Engineering and Design Services sector currently employs 1.5 million Americans directly. Those employees and their companies collectively support another 3 million jobs in the various contracting and other firms with which they work. The Institute’s latest study found that each new job created in the Engineering and Design Services industry indirectly creates two additional jobs in related sectors across the economy.

The data shows that investments in infrastructure that support engineering jobs pave the way for economic opportunity. What’s more, the designs our industry creates help improve the built environment, making it more resilient to climate change. This is a win-win for society, creating a more equitable, environmentally sound, and prosperous built environment resulting in job creation and economic mobility. We look forward to working with policyholders, members of Congress, and the Biden-Harris Administration to develop sustainable solutions that benefit the country as a whole in the weeks ahead.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.

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March 22, 2021



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