National Public Works Week celebrated on Capitol Hill

Becky Wickstrom
Media Affairs Manager
APWA Washington Office

In May, APWA members celebrated National Public Works Week on Capitol Hill. APWA President Bill Verkest, President-Elect Larry Frevert and Past President Bob Freudenthal, as well as At-Large Director Diane Linderman participated in an exciting program of events for Members of Congress and their staff. Also on hand were APWA members Charlie Button with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and Robert Lambert with the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission.

According to APWA President Bill Verkest, "National Public Works Week is a time to recognize and thank our national elected leaders whose commitment and support have made a far-reaching and positive impact on public works programs, services and policies."

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring May 20-26, 2007, National Public Works Week and recognizing the efforts, importance and contributions of public works professionals. Introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-MN) and co-sponsored by Ranking Member John Mica (R-FL) and more than 20 congressional leaders, H.Res. 352 passed the House by a voice vote on May 15 (see pages 16-19). President George W. Bush also sent a letter of appreciation in honor of National Public Works Week.

Events in Washington included a congressional staff briefing discussing the Clean Water Act, which was passed 35 years ago. APWA, along with a number of partners, sponsored an awards reception honoring congressional leaders for their support of public works and infrastructure. The week's events concluded with an ice cream social for congressional members and their staff.

APWA also reached out to more than 350,000 listeners in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, through drive-time publicity spots on the local National Public Radio affiliate. The spots were designed to raise awareness about public works and recognize the contributions of men and women who dedicate themselves to maintaining and providing public infrastructure.

"'National Public Works Week on the Hill' has become an important vehicle for APWA to communicate with Congress about public works needs and priorities," said Peter B. King, APWA Executive Director. "This year's events built upon a growing tradition of celebrating National Public Works Week and the contributions of public works professionals across the country with lawmakers in Washington, D.C."

A reception Tuesday night convened APWA members, congressional leaders and friends of public works. Together with the American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers, Associated General Contractors of America, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, International Society of Arboriculture, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of Water Companies, Society of Municipal Arborists and the Water Environment Federation, APWA honored four members of Congress for their support of infrastructure and public works. Honorees included House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-MN) and Ranking Member John Mica (R-FL) as well as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Ranking Member Peter King (R-NY).

More than 150 people attended the reception, including six members of Congress, more than 100 congressional staff members, many from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and representatives from partnering associations. The reception also featured large displays of APWA Projects of the Year award winners, highlighting innovative project designs and achievements that underscore the key role of public works infrastructure to everyday quality of life. Gubernatorial proclamations from 19 states were also on display.

A celebratory ice cream social on Thursday was attended by 500 congressional staff and seven members of Congress. The project displays and gubernatorial proclamations were again on display for all to see.

APWA members Charlie Button, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, and Louisiana Chapter President-Elect Robert Lambert, General Manager of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission, co-presented a congressional briefing titled "The Clean Water Act: 35 Years of Progress and Protection." Both discussed clean water achievements with Boston Harbor and Lake Pontchartrain and urged congressional leaders to continue making clean water investment a priority.

Becky Wickstrom can be reached at (202) 218-6736 or bwickstrom@apwa.net.


APWA and AGC Renew Partnership Agreement

On May 22, APWA President Bill Verkest and Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) President Steve Massie reaffirmed the APWA-AGC partnership by signing a new agreement in Washington, D.C., during National Public Works Week. The partnership agreement outlines 10 goals that build upon the accomplishments achieved since the first partnering agreement was signed more than 10 years ago.

Under the agreement, APWA and AGC recognize the importance of working together to promote efficient and quality construction services and processes in the advancement of public works.

"We believe in the value of communication, cooperation and working together for the benefit of the members of both of our organizations, the nation's public infrastructure and the citizens we serve," President Verkest said.

The partnership goals include promoting communications, promoting design and construction excellence, supporting education and training initiatives, and working together to advocate public awareness about the need for investment in public infrastructure.

Members of APWA's Partnership Task Force are Richard Ridings, Chair, and Mike Asbury. They and the AGC members of the Joint Committee will implement the goals of the partnership agreement.