Tag Archive for 'ARTBA'

ARTBA Takes Legal Action on Maryland Purple Line Transit Project

Amicus Brief Cites Potential Negative Environmental & P3 Precedents

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Aug. 23 told a federal appeals court that a lower court ruling blocking the Maryland Purple Line is an abuse of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and poses risks for the future of similar public-private partnerships (P3s) on transportation improvement projects.

The 16-mile Purple Line light-rail project between Bethesda and New Carrolton, Maryland, is one of the nation’s largest P3 transit projects.  While expected to secure $900 million in federal funding, the project has been mired in litigation since 2014 by anti-growth opponents.

In August 2016, a lower court halted construction saying the Federal Transit Administration failed to consider declining ridership on the Washington, D.C. Metro system.  Both the federal government and the state of Maryland appealed the decision contending that there was no obligation under NEPA to consider ridership on the Metro system.

In an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, ARTBA said the lower court ruling could have negative impacts and set bad precedents on the environment and the ability of other states to move forward on P3s.  Such impacts, ARTBA warned, could jeopardize renewed bipartisan congressional focus on the nation’s infrastructure, which the association notes is “in disrepair and in desperate need of substantial upgrades.”  It could also undercut the efforts of the current Administration, like others before it, to improve the timeliness of the environmental review process, ARTBA said.

“If plaintiffs or courts can upend the culmination of the onerous NEPA process for economic or policy reasons having nothing to do with the environment, the ensuing uncertainty and delay would discourage public and private investment needed to rebuild and improve the country’s transportation infrastructure.  These concerns are particularly heightened for P3s, which are central to modern infrastructure financing and development,” the ARTBA brief argued.

Particularly for P3s, the ARTBA brief noted that the district court’s ruling “injects new delay and litigation risks, thereby stifling the growth of this key financing mechanism to leverage and combine governmental and private dollars and responsibilities to meet the nation’s exigent transportation needs.”  Specifically, the brief noted a single month of delay can increase a project’s costs by 1.5 percent – a significant amount for the more than $2 billion in construction costs associated with the Purple Line.

In asking for the district court ruling to be reversed, the association’s brief concluded: “The public and private parties engaged in Maryland’s Purple Line have expended many years, millions of dollars, and enormous energy into a legislated P3 that serves as a model for financing, building, and operating future transit projects nationwide. The desperately needed Purple Line is being challenged by a parochial few in Chevy Chase, the location of just one of the Purple Line’s 21 stations knitting together communities along 16 miles between Bethesda and New Carrollton. That obstruction and delay have been sustained by lower court rulings that completely misconstrue NEPA’s fundamental purpose and requirements.”

Submission of briefs in the case is expected to conclude Sept. 29.  No date has been set for oral arguments.

Read the full text of ARTBA’s legal brief (link).

Established in 1902, Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, courts, news media and the general public.

State & Local Advocates Share Best Practices for Boosting Transportation Funding at Annual Workshop

More than 130 transportation design and construction professionals, chamber of commerce executives, and officials with better roads group and state transportation agencies from 36 states came together July 12 in the Nation’s Capital to share best practices for advancing transportation funding legislation and ballot initiatives during the 4th Annual National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates.

The gathering was hosted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC).  It featured a state legislator panel of transportation or finance committee members who discussed strategies and political challenges for funding roads, bridges and other infrastructure, including: Louisiana Rep. Kenneth Havard (R-District 62), Montana State Rep. Frank Garner (R-District 7), Oregon State Rep. Brad Witt (D-District 31) and Tennessee Senate Speaker Pro Tem Jim Tracy (R-District 16).

Anthony Attanasio, executive director of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey; Michael Quigley, executive director of the California Alliance for Jobs; Dennis Faulkenberg, president of Appian, an Indiana-based advocacy group; and Jordon Marsh, vice president of South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads, all highlighted how they were able to increase funding in their respective states.

Dr. Alison Premo Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, provided an overview of state legislative and ballot action over the past three years, including updates on the six states to pass gas tax increases in 2017, and lessons learned from past transportation funding increases.

In other sessions, panelists shared campaign strategies, tactics, messaging, opinion and economic research, legislative and ballot language, and “what’s worked and what hasn’t” in their state or local community in order to help other advocates meet their objectives.

The program also included the annual meeting of the “Transportation Investment Advocates Council™” – a national network of more than 70 construction and better roads professionals, chamber of commerce executives, and public officials who share an interest in building support for infrastructure investments locally.

TIAC, established in 2014, is an internet-based educational platform that features detailed reports, analyses and more than 50 case studies of recent transportation funding campaigns mounted in numerous states. It includes television, radio and print ads, polling, an overview of state and local funding and finance mechanisms, and an ongoing blog detailing new developments across the nation.

Learn more at www.transportationinvestment.org.

TIAC operations are supported by ARTBA’s “Transportation Makes America Work” program.

ARTBA Foundation Announces Financial Assistance to 11 Children of Fallen Highway Workers

Eleven children of highway workers who were killed on the job will receive college financial assistance for the 2017-18 school year from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation’s (ARTBA-TDF) “Lanford Family Highway Worker Memorial Scholarship” fund.

The scholarship program was established in 1999 with a gift from two Roanoke, Virginia, highway contractors and their companies—Stan Lanford (1999 ARTBA chairman) of Lanford Brothers, and Jack Lanford (1991 ARTBA chairman), with Adams Construction Company. About 100 highway workers are killed annually in roadway construction and maintenance accidents, and thousands more are seriously injured.
Over the past 17 years, more than 130 scholarships have been given to students from 25 states to pursue college and technical training. The 2017 class includes:

Caitlyn Rains, Proctor, Ark.
Caitlyn’s father, James Rains, was killed in 2013 while working in a night construction zone for APAC Tennessee. Caitlyn plans to study physical therapy at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Misty McNeil, Kountze, Texas & Amy McNeil Graves, Lumberton, Texas
Misty and Amy’s father, Jeffrey McNeil, was killed in 2005 while working for the Texas Department of Transportation. Misty plans to study radiologic technology at Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont. Amy is studying nursing at Lamar State College in Orange.
Kaitlyn Henry, Dennison, Ohio
Kaitlyn’s dad, Gary Henry, was struck by a construction vehicle and killed in 2013 while working on a state highway construction project on Interstate 270 near Columbus, Ohio. Kaitlyn will be a senior at Ohio University and is an intervention specialist major.
Andrea Pair, Spiro, Okla.
Andrea’s father, Shannon Pair, was struck and killed while working for Time Striping Inc., in 1998. Andrea will be a senior at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. She studies biochemistry.
Victoria Markle, Port Charlotte, Fla.
Victoria’s father, John Markle, was struck and killed on Florida’s I-75 in March 2016 while working for Ajax Paving Industries. Victoria will be a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers where she studies journalism.
Cirar Butler, Gunnison, Miss.
Cirar’s father, Henry Butler, Jr., was killed while driving a Mississippi Department of Transportation work truck during highway repairs in 2014. Cirar will be a sophomore at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, and studies physical therapy.
Kristen Jares, West, Texas
Kristen’s father, Gregory Jares, was killed in 2001 while working for the Texas Department of Transportation. Kristen will be a sophomore at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton where she studies exercise physiology.
Standra Jones, Jr., Gaston, S.C.
Stan’s father, Standra Jones, worked for the South Carolina Department of Transportation. In 2007, he was struck and killed while taking down work zone traffic controls on I-26 in Lexington County. Stan will be a junior at Clemson University and majors in engineering.
Willie Blevins, Commerce, Ga.
Willie’s mother, Kathy Blevins, worked for the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation. She had just finished painting turn-lane lines when her vehicle was struck and she was killed in 2004. Willie will be a junior studying pre-veterinarian at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.
Emily Jones, Billings, Mont.
Emily’s father, Richard Jones, was killed in a car accident in 2013 while working for Direct Traffic Control. Emily will be a senior at Montana State University and majors in criminal justice.

The ARTBA-TDF is interested in receiving contact leads on students who could benefit from the scholarship program. Please share them with ARTBA’s Eileen Houlihan at ehoulihan@artba.org or 202.289.4434.

For more than 30 years, the ARTBA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity, has worked to “promote research, education and public awareness” about the impacts of transportation investment. The Foundation supports an array of initiatives, including educational scholarships, awards, professional development academies, a transportation project safety certification program, roadway work zone safety and training programs, special economic reports and an exhibition on transportation at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

ARTBA Reports: Federal Highway Administration Backtracks on Obama-Era “Greenhouse Gas” Tracking Measure

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) May 19 decision to suspend a controversial Obama Administration proposal requiring the tracking of “greenhouse gas” (GHG) emissions from transportation improvements will help save taxpayer dollars and prevent those projects from additional unnecessary delays, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says.

The proposal was part of larger performance measures required under the July 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation law. ARTBA had previously argued the measure exceeded “both the authority of the FHWA and the intent of MAP-21.”

The association first raised objections to the measure back in August 2016 comments, noting that neither Congress nor the administration sought emission measurements in the MAP-21 performance management process, and that such a proposal was subsequently not included in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act reauthorization law passed in December 2015.

ARTBA then followed up the comments by meeting with House and Senate staff, as well as Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials, to express its concerns.  The association also convened a group of nearly 40 trade associations on a letter to FHWA stating, “The simple fact is that MAP-21 was approved with broad bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate and the inclusion of an unrelated GHG proposal violates this bipartisan spirit.  It is hard to see this proposal as anything other than a maneuver to achieve a policy objective the prior administration failed to advance in the appropriate legislative arena.”

On a related note, ARTBA also warned the agency not to exceed its authority three years ago, when it urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) not to jeopardize the broad bipartisan congressional support for MAP-21 by including extraneous issues—such as climate change— in the law’s implementation. Specifically, a 2013 ARTBA task force cautioned:

“Focus on the goals enumerated in the law. The authors of MAP-21 had the opportunity to include a host of external goals such as livability, reduction of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, reduction of reliance on foreign oil, adaptation to the effects of climate change, public health, housing, land-use patterns and air quality in the planning and performance process….the U.S. Department of Transportation should focus on implementing the goals and standards as spelled out in MAP-21.”
Established in 1902 and headquartered by Capitol Hill, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, the courts and news media.

ARTBA & NAPA Endorse Transportation Project Safety Certification Program

 

ARTBA–NAPA Partnership Features Joint Development of Online Asphalt Paving-Milling Safety Training Courses

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) today endorsed the Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals (SCTPP) program and plans to urge its member firms and their employees to earn the credential beginning this year.

Launched in late 2016 and administered by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF), the SCTTP’s vision is to “ensure the safety and well-being of construction workers, motorists, truck drivers, pedestrians and cyclists and their families by making transportation project sites world-wide zero safety incident zones.”

As part of a strategic partnership, ARTBA and NAPA will jointly develop and implement online asphalt paving-/milling-specific safety training modules that industry professionals can use to prepare for the certification exam or to earn Professional Development Hours and build their skill sets. NAPA will also help recruit asphalt paving/milling professionals to join the SCTPP “Subject Matter Experts” team that plays a critical role in developing exam questions.

“We are excited to partner with ARTBA to develop and promote training tools that will aid companies in implementing best practices proven to help eliminate work zone incidents,” said NAPA President Mike Acott. “Because of the unique nature of asphalt road construction work, there was a clear need for asphalt paving-/milling-specific modules within the SCTPP.  We look forward to working with ARTBA and our nationally recognized experts to create the modules needed to address safe work zone and asphalt road construction practices.”

“The goal with the certification program is to help cause a demonstrable reduction in the number of deaths and injuries that occur on and around transportation project sites each year,” ARTBA President Pete Ruane said. “Our partnership with NAPA moves us closer toward that goal because it allows us to reach a wider audience of key decision makers who are in the position to improve jobsite safety.”

The SCTPP program is aimed at the thousands of transportation project workers, supervisors, foremen, inspectors, managers, manufacturers and materials suppliers, designers, equipment operators and owners who could make a huge, industry-wide safety impact by learning core competencies necessary to identify and mitigate potentially life-threatening on-site risks.

The two-and-a-half hour exam contains up to 120 multiple-choice questions that probe knowledge in: assessing project risks; creating project safety plans; implementing and conducting on-going evaluation of a site-specific operational safety plan; and conducting incident investigations. It’s designed to meet the rigorous protocols required for accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization ISO/IEC 17024: “Conformity Assessment: “General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons.”

An independent, nine-member Certification Commission established the program’s governing and operational policies, and provides on-going oversight. It is co-chaired by national safety advocates, David Walls, president & CEO of Austin Industries, based in Dallas, Texas; and Ross Myers, chairman & CEO of Allan Myers, based in Worcester, Pennsylvania. Top leaders from the transportation project planning, design and materials sectors, government, organized labor, and the trucking and insurance industries also serve as commissioners.

Additional information about the certification program can be found on its comprehensive website: www.puttingsafetyfirst.org.