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ARTBA President & CEO Statement on the Passage of House Transportation Bill

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement about the House passage of its multi-year highway and transit bill:

“The U.S. House of Representatives accomplished something today that it has not done in a decade: passage of a highway and transit bill that is more than two years in duration. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio deserve enormous credit for making it happen and in such a bipartisan manner.

“The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act helps end the eight-year cycle of short-term funding patches. It contains important provisions that renew focus on roadway infrastructure safety, improve the speed and efficiency in which projects are completed, and increase transparency in how the public’s tax dollars are invested.

“The bill, however, does not provide close to the investment levels the federal government says are necessary to maintain, let alone, improve conditions on the nation’s highways, bridges, and transit systems. And it does not include a long-term revenue solution for the beleaguered Highway Trust Fund.

“We urge members of the House and Senate to increase the investment levels in the final proposal that emerges from the conference committee. Absent a permanent Highway Trust Fund fix, the measure should also establish a bicameral, congressional task force with deadlines and consequences for Congress to finally develop a long-term plan to stabilize highway and public transit funding. Only then will America be able to begin building an infrastructure network that drives economic growth and boosts competitiveness in a 21st century global marketplace.”

New York Times 

Highway bill is approved by House

A six-year transportation-funding bill valued at more than $300 billion passed the House on Thursday with a vote of 363-64. The measure, which includes reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, will be reconciled with one that passed the Senate; a conference report is needed by Nov. 20. The House bill does not establish a permanent funding solution for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and provides funds for only the first three years.

For the full New Your Times article: Click here

Summer Has Ended … and so will the most recent (34th) extension of the highway bill

Summer Has Ended

Visitor & guest editorial staffer.

Visitor & guest editorial staffer.

By Greg Sitek

… and so will the most recent (34th) extension of the highway bill

In a Recent American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) newsletter the civil engineering group noted:

Summer comes to an end next week as Congress returns to the Capitol after a five-week recess. Deadlines will be the theme this fall, with the first being the Oct. 1 funding deadline to keep the government open. The second important deadline for ASCE is Oct. 29, when MAP-21, the surface transportation bill, expires. With a D+ cumulative GPA, the topic of America’s infrastructure should be at the top of their to-do lists. Congress has several opportunities to address some of the nation’s infrastructure needs in the coming weeks. Here’s what to watch:

  1. Transportation

Before the U.S. Senate adjourned for August recess, they passed the DRIVE Act, a six-year surface transportation bill.  The DRIVE Act would end the current cycle of short-term program extensions and increase federal funding for surface transportation programs.  The U.S. House of Representatives has until a new deadline of October 29 to act to pass their own multi-year bill before the current law expires. ASCE has been focused on communicating with House members on the need to act quickly and pass a long-term bill. You can help by contacting your House members and urging them to #FixTheTrustFund.

  1. Appropriations for Federal Infrastructure Programs

So far this year, the House has only passed six of 12 annual appropriations bills and the Senate has not yet passed a single one. There is an Oct. 1 deadline to complete this year’s appropriation. Among the major dilemmas holding up the appropriations process are disagreements over the overall funding amounts for the federal government, policy riders that bog down spending bills and fundamental differences on what level to fund federal environmental, healthcare and military programs.

While it’s difficult enough for Congress to fund popular established bipartisan programs like the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving funds (which are facing 23% cuts), newer programs, like the Levee Safety Initiative, have not received any funding since the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) passed. If these programs do not receive appropriations, then the progress made by creating them becomes stagnant and no real progress is made in addressing the infrastructure the legislation aimed to improve.

And the ARTBA newsletter had the following to say:

On Sept. 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the document they had created. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is using the 228th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution signing to remind Congress that Article One, Section Eight, makes support for transportation infrastructure investment a core federal government responsibility. It’s time, ARTBA says, for Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund.

“It only took the Founding Fathers 209 days—from a call for action on Feb. 21 to the signing ceremony on Sept. 17—to draft, debate and endorse the U.S. Constitution, one of mankind’s greatest documents,” ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane says. “In contrast, why have our elected leaders taken over 2,000 days since 2008 trying to figure out how to permanently address the Highway Trust Fund revenue problem?”

Ruane says members of Congress should heed and respond to the words of U.S. Constitution signatories Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington and make expanding transportation infrastructure investment a federal priority to support economic growth and improve the nation’s competitiveness.


Hamilton 66dcce51-dd63-45b4-a5db-96ea411c41f4Hamilton said: “The improvement of the roads would be a measure universally popular. None can be more so. For this purpose a regular plan should be adopted, coextensive with the Union, to be successfully executed, and a fund should be appropriated sufficient… To provide roads and bridges is within the direct purview of the Constitution.”



Madioson f26c5ec4-7ea9-4737-8ac8-5706d29e464cMadison noted: “Among the means of advancing the public interest, the occasion is a proper one for recalling the attention of Congress to the great importance of establishing throughout the country the roads and canals which can best be executed under the national authority. No objects within the circle of political economy so richly repay the expense bestowed on them.”



Franklin 8cd18e8a-bb5b-4723-b5f9-76bbb64a543aFranklin challenged legislators: “And have we not all these taxes too… and our provincial or public taxes besides? And over and above, have we not new roads to make, new bridges to build… and a number of things to do that your fathers have done for you, and which you inherit from them, but which we are obliged to pay for out of our present labor?”



Washington b5580c6c-4743-465b-835d-51db410776e1And George Washington, who presided over the Constitutional Convention, said: “The credit, the saving, and the convenience of this country all require that our great roads leading from one public place to another should be straightened and established by law… To me, these things seem indispensably necessary.”

With election-mania already in motion, gathering momentum with every news cast, what do you think the prospects of a worthwhile highway bill are?


This article appears in the October 2015 issues of the ACP magazines

Statement from Transportation Construction Coalition Co-chairs

ee0d071a-4431-491a-ae5f-0d9154114faeStatement Relating to Senate

Passage of the DRIVE Act

The following is a statement from Transportation Construction Coalition Co-chairs Pete Ruane, president & CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, and Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America regarding the Senate’s approval of a multi-year highway/transit bill:

“On behalf of the 31 national associations and construction trade unions of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), we applaud the Senate for passage of a multi-year surface transportation bill that would guarantee real growth in federal highway and public transportation investment over the next three years.  The Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act would also assist state long-term transportation planning by distributing six years of contract authority.

“Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Inhofe and EPW Committee Ranking Member Boxer demonstrated exemplary leadership in finding the common ground necessary to earn overwhelming bipartisan support for the longest duration surface transportation bill approved by either chamber since 2005.  Furthermore, they accomplished this feat before the current short-term extension of the highway and transit programs expires.

“Today’s Senate vote on the DRIVE Act and the expected enactment of a three-month extension of the surface transportation programs by July 31 should bring to a close once and for all claims that Congress needs “more time” to develop a long-term reauthorization bill and Highway Trust Fund solution.  For more than a year members of both parties and chambers have used this rationalization for kicking the reauthorization can down the road.  The time for any further short-term extensions is over.

“We appreciate House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster’s recent statement reiterating his commitment to producing a multi-year surface transportation bill soon.  Achieving this goal, however, will require House Republican leaders and the Ways & Means Committee to develop a bipartisan plan to generate the resources necessary to grow highway and public transportation investment.  This must be a priority focus over the next six weeks.

“Members of the TCC will spend the August recess making sure all House members hear from their constituents about the need for the House to pass a meaningful, long-term surface transportation bill in September to ensure a final measure can be enacted before the latest short-term extension expires.”

Leading Industry Groups ARTBA & AEM Issue Statements on the 
Senate’s Surface Transportation Proposal

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55ARTBA President & CEO Statement on the 
Senate’s Surface Transportation Proposal 

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement regarding the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s “Developing a Reliable & Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act”:

“Getting beyond the gridlock that has been strangling federal investment in the nation’s mobility is going to take bipartisan cooperation and leadership. Senators Inhofe, Boxer, Vitter and Carper have stepped up and done their job by outlining a multi-year highway and public transit program that will make America more competitive.

“Now it’s time for the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means committees to do theirs and provide the path forward with a sustainable revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund. Transportation investment is a core federal responsibility. It’s time to transcend politics and do the right thing for America.”

AEM_logo_wo_cmykAEM’s Dennis Slater Speaks out on the 
Senate’s Surface Transportation Proposal 

AEM welcomes the introduction of legislation from Senators Inhofe and Boxer that would meet our nation’s surface transportation needs at robust levels for a full six years. The DRIVE Act represents a serious and bipartisan attempt at breaking the cycle of borrowing just to fund the Highway Trust Fund every few months at a time.

Equipment manufacturers look forward to Senate consideration of this important legislation in the Environment and Public Works Committee and sincerely hope that other relevant committees – including the Senate Finance Committee – soon follow suit.

With another deadline on the horizon, it’s imperative that Congress takes action both swiftly and purposefully to address the Highway Trust Fund. The equipment

ARTBA-Supported Ad Campaigns Launched on Multiple Fronts to Push Highway Trust Fund Fix

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55Ads Coincide with House & Senate Tax Committee
Hearings this Week on Long-Term Transportation Funding

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and its industry allies are launching advertising campaigns on multiple mediums this week to draw congressional attention to the urgent need to find a permanent solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

ARTBA is running a 60-second television ad touting its “Getting Beyond Gridlock” (GBG) proposal.  GBG marries a 15 cents-per-gallon increase in the federal gas and diesel motor fuels tax with an offsetting federal tax rebate for middle and lower income Americans for six years, if necessary. The plan would fund a six-year, $401 billion, highway and public transit capital investment program and provide sustainable, user-based funds to support it for at least the next 10 years.  The TV spot will air multiple times June 16-18 on Fox and CNN inside Washington, D.C.  Watch the ad.

The association has also deployed companion digital ads that direct congressional staff to the GBG website for additional information about how their states would benefit from the program’s implementation.

The HTF is the source, on average, of more than 50 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments.  The latest funding authorization for the highway and public transit program expires July 31.  The House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees are holding hearings this week to explore long-term funding options to improve the trust fund’s fiscal health.

ARTBA said it has also produced a new print ad that will run this week in Capitol Hill publications.  “There is one sure way to sustainably end the Highway Trust Fund’s chronic cash flow problem… and not just for five or six years.  Increase the federal motor fuels excise rate by 15-cents per gallon and index it to inflation,” the ad reads.  “The government’s energy experts see pretty stable short term motor fuel consumption ahead.  Adjusting the gas and diesel excise rate now will result in a highly predictable and reliable revenue stream for Highway Trust Fund investments for years to come,” the ad concludes.

To compliment these efforts, the ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and the American Public Transportation Association are partnering on a 60-second television ad this week highlighting President Ronald Reagan’s 1982 gas tax increase proposal to support highway and public transit improvements.  It will air June 16-18 on CNN and Fox News inside Washington, D.C.  The TCC is also running a companion June 16-18 during morning and afternoon drive time on Washington’s top rated, news talk station, WTOP.