Tag Archive for 'American Road and Transportation Builders Association'

New ARTBA Video & Website Aims to Boost Grassroots Involvement of Transportation Construction Professionals

image001www.artbamobilize.org

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has rolled out a new educational video and website that aim to educate transportation design and construction professionals about how to get more engaged in the political process and infrastructure policy debates.

The nine-minute grassroots training video, “Mobilize: A Grassroots Legislative Action Program,” contains easy-to-understand information about how decisions made by Congress and the White House impact the transportation construction market, and offers industry professionals tips on how to help shape federal policies that will benefit their future livelihoods.   It features interviews with executives from G.A. & F.C Wagman in Pennsylvania and Pike Industries in New Hampshire explaining how their corporate grassroots programs were developed and why they are successful.

The association also created a companion website, www.artbamobilize.org, to house the video, where it can be downloaded for free in several formats.  The website includes a direct link to ARTBA’s Grassroots Action Center, and links to 50-state fact sheets that have information about the economic and job creation impacts of federal transportation investment.

The video and website, an initiative of ARTBA’s “Transportation Makes America Work” public affairs campaign, were developed in consultation with members of ARTBA’s Grassroots Action Strike Force, a group comprised of nearly 30 industry firms and organizations.

Established in 1902, the Washington, D.C.–headquartered ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, news media and general public.

ARTBA 2013 Transportation Construction Market Forecast: Modest Growth

Bridge Market Will Be Flat; Port & Waterway Construction A Bright Spot

The U.S. transportation construction infrastructure market is expected to show modest growth in 2013, increasing three percent from $126.5 billion to $130.3 billion, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) annual forecast.  The association’s chief economist, Dr. Alison Premo Black, released her findings during a November 30 webinar for Wall Street analysts and construction industry executives.

Growth is expected in highway and street pavements, private work for driveways and parking lots, airport terminal and runway work, railroads, and port and waterway construction.  ARTBA predicts the bridge market, which has shown substantial growth over the last 10 years, to remain flat next year.

The federal surface transportation program, combined with state and local government transportation investments, are the most significant drivers of the national transportation infrastructure construction market.

According to Black, the pavements market will be sluggish in 2013, growing 2.8 percent to $58.4 billion.  This includes $47.7 billion in public and private investment in highways, roads and streets, and $10.7 billion in largely private investments in parking lots, driveways and related structures.

With no new real federal money in the 2012 MAP-21 surface transportation law, still recovering state and local tax collections and modest new housing starts, the pavements market will be uneven across the nation.  Pavement work is anticipated to be down in 25 states.  Growth above a five percent range is expected in 19 states.

However, there are at least two developments related to MAP-21 that could lead to additional market activity in the short term and strengthen the market in 2013 and 2014, Black says.

First, the law’s restructuring of the federal highway program offers state transportation departments more flexibility in their use of federal funds.  This could lead to slightly increased investment in highway, bridge and pavement work above the forecast in some states.   Second, MAP-21’s expanded federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program should also increase construction activity in some states.

Black also notes that major reconstruction work along the East Coast in states that were affected by Hurricane Sandy could also be a market factor in 2013 across all modes.   Additional federal, state and local emergency funds for rebuilding this infrastructure could be a boost as projects get underway.

A major wild card in the forecast, Black says, is the so-called “fiscal cliff”—the dire financial situation set to occur at the beginning of 2013 if Congress and the President can’t agree on tax and spending reforms.  Although the “fiscal cliff” would not directly impact federal highway investment to the states, it could affect state and local finances, and thereby cause governments to pull back or delay projects.  Such action in turn would have negative consequences on the highway construction market.

Individual businesses may also delay capital and hiring decisions amid the uncertainty.

Bridges & Tunnels

After a four-year run of significant market growth—reaching a record high $28.5 billion in 2012—the bridge and tunnel construction market will cool off in 2013, likely remaining flat at about $28.2 billion.  The ARTBA forecast shows projects in eight states—California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington—will continue to account for about half of the U.S. market activity in this sector.  With a number of major bridge projects on the horizon, however, the bridge and tunnel sector should rebound smartly in 2014.

ARTBA’s 2013 forecast for other transportation modes:

Ports & Waterways

Driven by expanded sea trade expected with completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in 2015, U.S. ports and waterway construction is expected to skyrocket nearly 25 percent to $2.65 billion.  Increased market activity is anticipated in California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Airport Runways & Terminals

Airport runway and terminal construction is expected to show growth in 28 states, with sector growth overall of 4.5 percent, reaching $12.5 billion.  Market-driving states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.  Funding for airport projects is anticipated to increase over the next five years, largely tracking growth in passenger enplanements. 

Light Rail & Subways

The uncertainty caused by the 33-month long delay in passage of MAP-21 will be felt in the subway and light rail markets.  Construction activity is projected to be down by eight percent overall.  There will be some bright spots, however.  Based on recent contract awards, these states will be moving forward on key transit projects: California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

The forecast uses an ARTBA econometric model that takes into account a number of economic variables at the federal, state and local level.  It is measuring the public and private value of construction put in place, published by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The ARTBA estimate of the private driveway and parking lot construction market is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Economic Business Census.”

Established 110 years ago, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.

ARTBA-Backed Rule Change Will Reduce Bridge Project Delays & Could Save Nearly $80 Million

A change in the way the federal government reviews bridge projects for possible historical significance – one long-advocated by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) – could save taxpayers an estimated $78 million and reduce wait times for repair projects on more than 196,000 U.S. bridges.

A November 16 decision by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) will allow the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to streamline the historic preservation process for concrete and steel bridges built after 1945 by allowing the projects to go through the regulatory review process as a group, rather than individually.

In an October 1 letter supporting the change, ARTBA noted that the approach is similar to how the agency dealt with historic preservation issues impacting rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Interstate Highway System (IHS) under the prior surface transportation reauthorization law.  At that time, ARTBA similarly supported exempting large portions of the IHS from historic preservation regulations by identifying areas with historic value beforehand.

ARTBA said the new review process “recognizes while there will certainly be instances where active steps to preserve historical portions of the bridges will be necessary, the majority of bridge improvements in this class will not affect anything of historical significance.”

The full text of ARTBA’s comments supporting the new rule can be found in the “regulatory affairs” section of www.artba.org.

Smartphone: Scan & View

 

Established in 1902, ARTBA is the transportation construction industry’s “consensus voice” in the Nation’s Capital.

ARTBA Special 2012 Election Report

President Obama Elected to Second Term

Republicans Retain Control of House,

Democrats Add to Senate Majority

Voters Approve 19 Ballot Initiatives Generating Over $2.4 Billion for Transportation Projects

Overview

Americans across the country voted November 6 to essentially maintain the division of power that has existed at the federal level since 2011—retaining Barack Obama as president, Democrats in control of the Senate, and Republicans leading the House. The largely status quo results come after an estimated $6 billion in political spending by candidates for federal office and outside groups. Unlike the 2010 mid- term elections where Republicans made large gains spurred by the Tea Party movement, voters seem to have cast their ballots for individual candidates rather than party messages in 2012—as evidenced by multiple states that elected a senator from one party and supported the opposing party’s presidential candidate.

Republicans will likely have a 235-200 majority in the House after Democrats appear poised to gain seven seats compared to 2010 results. Democrats also gained two seats in the Senate, increasing their majority from 53-47 to 55-45—Senator-elect Angus King (I-Maine) has not officially announced which party, if any, he will caucus with once sworn in but is widely expected to choose to select the majority.

With votes still being counted in a number of states, both parties used the election results to affirm their long-held positions relating to the so-called fiscal cliff—a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that will be implemented at the end of 2012 barring no legislative action. While President Obama’s post-election speech highlighted the need for Republicans and Democrats to compromise on matters critical to the country, White House aides are claiming the election shows the American people support the President’s efforts to increase taxes on high-income individuals. House Speaker John Boehner (R- Ohio) held a November 7 press conference at which he expressed a desire to work with President Obama to find common ground. He reiterated criticism of raising tax rates, but signaled the party was open to reforming the tax code, which he claimed could generate a growth in overall tax revenues.

This public jockeying is not surprising as each party knows a negotiation on taxes and spending is looming and they are staking out initial positions. The tone of the engagement between President Obama and congressional leaders in the coming days—particularly during the post-election session of Congress that convenes November 13—will provide a better indicator of how the two sides will work together now that the political environment has stabilized. In addition to the fiscal cliff, major transportation-specific items on the congressional agenda for the next two years include: federal transportation investment levels for the remainder of FY 2013 and 2014; the reauthorization of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21); the overdue port and waterway authorization bill; and broad reform of federal tax policy.

House & Senate

In the Senate, the Democrats’ gains are significant as many pundits speculated the Republicans would take control of the chamber because Democrats had to defend 23 seats to the Republicans’ 10. Republicans were hopeful Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) would be able to hold onto the seat once held by Ted Kennedy in one of the most Democratic states in the nation, but Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren pulled away in the last weeks of the campaign to switch the seat back to the Democrats. Heidi Heitkamp (D) successfully defended retiring Senator Kent Conrad’s (D) senate seat in North Dakota despite tough opposition from U.S. Representative Rick Berg (R-N.D.). The controversial statements of Representatives Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and Richard Mourdock (R-Ind.), who were each expected to win their respective Senate races, weakened chances for the Republicans take over the Senate.

The Democrats’ pick-ups in the Senate are marginal and will not necessarily change how it is governed for the next two years. Senate procedures empower the minority to block legislation—unless a three- fifthssupermajoritycanbeachieved. Securingthis60-votethresholdhasbeennecessaryformost major bills over the last decade, including reauthorizations of the federal highway/transit programs, no matter which party controlled the Senate. Democrats and the Independents who are expected to caucus with them will still need at least five Republicans to get the votes necessary to move bills in the next Congress.

The institution of the House of Representatives greatly advantages the majority party. Although Republicans lost a few seats, they will still enjoy control of the chamber and will be able to dictate the House’s legislative agenda in the new Congress.

The congressional redistricting process, which follows each U.S. Census, did not have a major effect on party control in this election. States like Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington each added one House seat to their delegations. Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all lost one House seat. Florida gained two seats, while New York and Ohio each lost two. Texas saw the biggest shift in its congressional delegation with four new House seats, reflecting a significant population shift to the state over the past decade. The redistricting process did not have a large effect on party control in the House as state-approved redistricting plans left both Democrats and Republicans in difficult situations, sometimes pitting members of the same party against each other in what are referred to as “jungle elections” which abandon the traditional party versus party format.

State and Local

Of the 11 gubernatorial races on the ballot this year, two switched party control—each party gained and lost one—resulting in a wash. As a result, Republicans continue to hold 29 governorships to the Democrats’ 20. Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island is an independent and former Republican.

Voters also participated in ballot initiatives in 15 states regarding transportation and showed once again the importance of transportation by approving 68 percent of the measures to increase or extend funding for highways, bridges and transit. This is in line with years past—in 2010 voters approved 61 percent of similar measures; they approved 78 percent in 2008; 77 percent in 2006; and 76 percent in 2004. The total value approved this year was over $2.4 billion.

ARTBA tracked 31 measures overall—five were statewide initiatives and 26 were local. All of the seven bond initiatives were approved by voters. Eighteen measures called for increasing, extending or renewing a sales tax for transportation purposes, two were property tax extensions and one was for a local gas tax.

A full analysis of the transportation-related ballot initiatives appears on page 10 of this report.

Going Forward

Given the relatively status quo results of the 2012 election, Congress now has an opportunity to build uponthepassageofMAP-21.

The freshman class of the 2010 elections now has a transportation bill under its belt and is significantly more familiar with the issues affecting ARTBA members. They should stand ready to begin work on the next reauthorization well ahead of MAP-21’s September 30, 2014, expiration as well as developing solutions to the long-term fiscal health of the country, which should include transportation revenue and investment decisions. The divided party control of the House, Senate and White House continues to demand bipartisan support for enactment of legislation. The passage of MAP-21 was one of the few bipartisan achievements for Congress in 2012.

ARTBA will adhere to its long-standing practice of working with members of both parties to advance pro- transportation policies.

To view the full report visit ARTBA at: www.artba.org

http://www.artba.org/mediafiles/artba-special-2012-election-report-ballot-analysis.pdf

ARTBA President Pete Ruane’s Statement on the Election Results


American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and Chief Executive Officer Pete Ruane issued the following statement about the election results:

“We congratulate President Obama on his hard fought victory.

“The centerpiece of both campaigns was about growing the economy, creating jobs and getting America’s fiscal house in order.  Despite the deep divisions evidenced in the election results, there are certain priorities in which we all agree.  Developing a comprehensive solution for the nation’s staggering transportation infrastructure challenges is one of these areas, and is wholly consistent with the economic and budgetary priorities shared by both parties.

“It begins with the establishment of a dedicated and sustainable transportation-related revenue source, not on the further reliance of limited general funds.  Urgently needed infrastructure improvements should not add to the deficit or detract from other government programs.

“The transportation-related proposals put forward by the Simpson Bowles Commission, for example, provide a road map for the continued success of the user fee principle and long-term solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund.

“The two-year highway and transit law—MAP-21—proved at least one thing.  There is still strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for transportation improvements.  The law includes worthy national goals and greater accountability.  When fully implemented, it will help make the surface transportation programs more efficient.  Now it’s time to finish the job by providing a long-term solution that will provide the revenue stream necessary to ensure the nation’s highway, bridge and transit network promotes economic growth rather than impedes it.

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s never been clearer how important publicly-built infrastructure is to our mobility, economy, safety and quality of life.

“We look forward to working with President Obama and the 113th Congress to help ensure federal investment in transportation infrastructure remains a national priority in 2013.”