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2020 WI Infrastructure Report Card

Why did the American Society of Civil Engineers Wisconsin Section (ASCE WI) invite the League of Woman Voters of Wisconsin (LWVWI) to help them educate Wisconsin about the 2020 Wisconsin Infrastructure Report Card?

“ASCE and LWV share a joint goal of educating the public but we tend to reach different audiences. We’ll reach the engineers and some public officials (such as public works directors and utility directors) while LWV will reach voters and elected officials. In our view, we double the reach.” (November 9, 2020 email from Carl Sutter, P.E., F. ASCE, CCS, Senior Vice President Environment, & Infrastructure Division, McMahon Engineers/Architects, CSutter@mcmgrp.com , to Carol Diggelman, Emerita Professor, Civil & Architectural Engineering & Construction Management Department, MSOE; Co-Chair, LWV of Milwaukee County Natural Resources Committee and Member, LWVWI and ASCE WI Section, c.j.b.diggelman@gmail.com).

The League of Women Voters at all levels encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy to shape better communities. There are about 500,000 members & supporters in the US ; there are 2894 members in Wisconsin (10/12/2020 phone call from E. Penwell to C. Diggelman) Our advocacy on this project will be supported by our government, social policy and natural resources positions. This project was approved by the LWVWI Board, Louise Petering, President, LWVWI, presidentlwvwi@lwvwi.org.

The mission of ASCE is to provide essential value to its members and partners, advance civil engineering, and serve the public good There are 150,000 members in the US and 1825 members in Wisconsin (10/13/2020 email from C. Sutter to C. Diggelman).

Infrastructure projects are large projects, including wastewater treatment plants, interstate highways, bridges and dams that cross governmental units, span several years and require funding from multiple levels of government. Politicians may wish to fund infrastructure projects, but before voting to support the necessary funding bills they need to know that they have the support of many informed citizens.

I’m quite sure that her alderman speaks for many elected officials around Wisconsin. Milwaukee Alderman, Robert Bauman, told Carol Diggelman in a Sunday, October 25, 2020 email: “I can state without qualification that we place great value on citizen feedback on budget issues and all issues that impact the city. We receive that feedback in many forms including formal events like the budget hearing as well as emails, phone calls, letters, community meetings, one-on-one meetings and conversations in grocery stores, on my front porch and on the sidewalks. We also see citizen sentiment expressed in multiple media outlets including social media.”

The time of COVID-19 is the time we have to use the 2020 Wisconsin Infrastructure Report Card to educate ourselves and our fellow Wisconsin citizens on why investing in Wisconsin’s infrastructure now is a good investment. It is also a legacy we leave for our grandchildren.

We welcome members of the LWVWI and ASCE WI across Wisconsin to join with us on this project.

Article submitted by: Carol Diggelman