Tag Archive for 'ARTBA'

Call for Nominations: 2015 ARTBA Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction Awards

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55***Deadline Aug. 21, Winners Recognized in Philadelphia Sept. 28***  

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Women Leaders in Transportation Design and Construction (WLTDC) Council is now accepting nominations for its annual awards program, which honors the “extraordinary efforts of individuals, companies and public agencies that have demonstrated leadership and dedication to innovation in the transportation construction field as well as the promotion of women leaders within the industry.”

Awards are given in three categories:

  • The Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award: Named after ARTBA’s executive director from the mid-1920s, this award is given to at least one woman who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and long-term service in the industry’s public or private sectors.
  • The Glass Hammer Award: Honors at least one company in the transportation construction industry that has innovative programs and activities directed at successfully promoting women leaders within their organization.
  • Future Industry Spotlight Award: Recognizes two women students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies at a U.S. college or university who have achieved outstanding academic records and demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills within and outside of the academic environment.

ARTBA membership is not required.  Nomination forms are available under the “Awards & Scholarships” section of www.artbatdf.org, and must be received by Aug. 21.  Contact ARTBA’s Kashae Williams at 202-289-4434 or kwilliams@artba.org with any questions.

Winners will be recognized at a special awards luncheon during ARTBA’s National Convention, to be held September 27-29 in Philadelphia.

ARTBA Reports: State Analysis Shows Gas Tax Supporters
 Not Hurt at Ballot Box

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55Voting for a gas tax increase to fund transportation investments has not hurt Republicans or Democrats at the ballot box, a new political analysis shows. c2a12953-6ea4-4a4f-9879-ef3b7f2d1285

Ninety-five percent of all Republican state legislators who voted to increase their state gas tax to fund transportation improvements in 2013 and 2014 and ran for re-election last November won their races.  That was a one percent higher winning percentage than that racked up by all state Republican legislators who voted against a gas tax increase during the prior two years.

On the Democratic side, 88 percent of state legislators who voted in favor of a state gas tax increase and ran last year were re-elected, as were 86 percent who voted “no.”

“This analysis shows two things members of Congress need to know,” American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane says.  “First, a bipartisan majority can be found to increase transportation investment if the leadership of both parties actually lead—rather than play politics—and give their colleagues a chance to vote.   Second, if legislators are honest with their constituents and clearly explain why a gas tax increase is necessary and important and what benefits their constituents will derive from it, they have little reason to fear the ballot box over a gas tax vote.”

Seven state legislatures passed a gas tax increase or its equivalent during the last election cycle, according to the analysis by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center:  Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Wyoming and New Hampshire.

Three of the states passing increases had a Republican governor and GOP control of both the House and Senate—Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming.  Three had Democratic governors with party control of both legislative chambers—Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont.  New Hampshire had a Democrat as governor and a split party state legislature.

Republicans helped pass gas tax increases with 216 votes in six states, 34 percent of Republican state legislators in office at the time of the vote and 36 percent of Republican state legislators who cast a vote.  No Republican legislators supported the increases in Maryland and only one legislator supported the increase in Massachusetts.  All but eight who supported gas tax bills and ran for re-election won.

The analysis shows 384 Republicans voted against the gas tax measures in the seven states.  Of the 305 who ran for re-election, 19 lost.

Democratic state legislators cast 673 votes in favor of a gas tax increase, 82 percent of Democrats in office at the time of the vote and 87 percent of Democratic state legislators who cast a vote.  Of the 546 who ran for re-election, 68 lost.  Democrats cast 101 votes against a gas tax increase.  Of the 83 who ran for re-election, 12 lost.

A total 1,385 state legislators cast votes on gas tax measures, the analysis found.  Of those voting, 191 were registered as signing the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) state pledge “to oppose (and vote against/veto) any efforts to increase taxes”—180 Republicans and 11 Democrats.  Thirteen percent of the signees ignored the ATR and supported increased revenue for transportation improvements, the analysis found.  Only one legislator who defied the ATR and sought re-election was not returned to office.

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ARTBA Says State DOTs Continue to Pull Back on Transportation Improvements Over Continued Uncertainty Regarding the Federal Highway Trust Fund

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55Four states have canceled or delayed $780 million in transportation improvement projects and another nine say over $1.8 billion are at risk because of continued uncertainty over whether Congress will take action soon to fix the ailing Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

The Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) reviewed news reports, public statements and testimony from state officials to compile the list featured in a March 24 report.

On average, the HTF is the source of 52 percent of all highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments. Funding for the federal highway and transit program expires on May 31 unless Congress acts. The HTF has suffered five revenue shortfalls between 2008 and 2014, and the next cash crisis is expected to occur in summer 2015.

So far in 2015, four states—Ark., Ga., Tenn. and Wyo.—have shelved $779.7 million in projects due to the uncertainty over federal funds.

Nine states—Colo., Conn., Miss., Mont., Neb., Nev., Pa., Vt., and W.Va.—have expressed concern over the feasibility of future transportation infrastructure projects totaling more than $1.8 billion if Congress does not act before May 31. ARTBA expects more states will make similar announcements as the deadline draws nearer.

Last year, before a last-ditch effort by members of Congress led to an extension of MAP-21, DOT officials in 35 states publicly stated that they would be impacted by the precarious HTF situation.

“It’s déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra would say,” according to ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane. “This is one of the most easily avoidable crises because Congress has known the May deadline was coming for about eight months. Yet, here we are again flirting with another economic meltdown in the peak of the construction season,” he added.

“The continued uncertainty with the Highway Trust Fund has real world, negative impacts as state governments begin cutting back on their construction plans because they don’t know if the funding will be there to pay the bills a few months from now,” Ruane said. “This, in turn, prevents private sector companies from hiring workers and making major capital investments such as purchasing equipment, both of which are key to bolstering economic activity.”

“The clock is on the field.  There are 34 legislative calendar days left in the Senate and just 22 days in the House,” Ruane said. “It’s time for Congress and the President to show they can govern and provide a permanent funding solution for America’s highway and transit program.”

The ARTBA report can be found in “current issues” of ARTBA’s government section of www.artba.org

Transportation Proposal Pushed by Conservative Activists Would Force States to Raise Gas Taxes An Average of 23.5 Cents-Per-Gallon

ee0d071a-4431-491a-ae5f-0d9154114faeAlaska Would Need Largest Gas Tax Hike of $1 Per Gallon, Followed By Montana at 44.5 Cents-Per-Gallon To Keep Current Funding Levels Under Plan to Gut Federal Funding For State Highway Capital Investments

Transportation legislation being pushed in Congress by Heritage Action, the Club for Growth and like-minded conservative activist groups would force states to raise their gasoline and diesel motor fuel taxes, on average, about 23.5 cents-per-gallon by 2020 if they wanted to maintain their current annual investment in highway and bridge improvements and public transportation, an analysis of federal and state data shows.  The states’ only other options, if the proposal was enacted, would be to raise other taxes, redirect an equivalent amount of revenue from other state programs, or slash their road, bridge and transit improvement program.

The analysis, released by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), illustrates the reliance state governments have on the federal highway program for funding their road and bridge capital investments—52 percent, on average, from 2010 through 2012.

The legislation, the “Transportation Empowerment Act,” (TEA), which was sponsored in the last Congress by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), would force states to significantly boost their gas tax rates or enact other fundraising increases to avoid further deterioration of their transportation infrastructure.  Indeed, seven states would face the prospect of having to raise their gas tax by 30 cents or more—or find the revenue equivalent of such an increase—just to maintain their current highway and bridge investment:  Alaska ($1.00), Montana (44.5 cents), Vermont (44.2 cents), Rhode Island (41.4 cents), South Dakota (35.9 cents), West Virginia (32.5 cents), Wyoming (30.5 cents).  Review a state-by-state chart.

“The Transportation Empowerment Act and the rationale these groups offer for it show a gross misunderstanding of how the federal-state partnership to provide a core function of government—providing citizens and U.S. businesses safe and efficient mobility through transportation infrastructure—works,” Pete Ruane, TCC co-chair and president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, said. “It would be, at best, irresponsible for a Member of Congress to put their name on this legislation unless they first commit to leading the charge in their state to raise their gas tax, or other state taxes, or cut other specific state programs to fill the funding gap this legislation would create.”

“All this legislation would do is force drivers to pay more at the pump without delivering any improvements to the quality of safety of the roads and bridges they use,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America and the Co-Chair of the TCC.  “In particular, gutting the federal transportation program will force residents of large, less populous states to pay a lot more to maintain highways that benefit shippers and travelers from all over the country.”

The Heritage Action proposal would, over five years, lower the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents-per-gallon to 3.7 cents, and the federal diesel motor fuel tax from 24.3 cents-per-gallon to 5 cents.  The groups contend the lower fuels tax rates—which would generate about $6 billion per year—would be enough to rebuild and maintain the 60 year-old, 48,000-mile Interstate Highway System.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2013 biennial report to the Congress on the nation’s highway and bridge capital needs, however, says just maintaining current Interstate System physical conditions and performance requires almost $19 billion per year.  The annual capital investment necessary to optimize the System’s condition, performance and safety, the report says, is $35 billion.

The federal investment in state highway and bridge programs during FY 2015—which in addition to providing support for interstate highways also assists state investments in more than 120,000 miles of other major roads that connect the Interstate to the nation’s major military facilities, airports, ports, rail, truck and pipeline terminals and other strategic transport facilities—is just over $40 billion.

The analysis, prepared for the TCC by Dr. William Buechner, a former senior economist for the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Dr. Alison Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, is based on state motor fuel tax rate data for 2014 from the Federation of Tax Administrators and Federal Highway Administration data on federal apportionments for highway program investments to the state transportation departments.

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) includes 31 national associations and labor unions whose members have a direct market interest in federal transportation programs.  The TCC focuses on the federal budget and surface transportation program policy issues.

A chart showing how the Transportation Empowerment Act would impact individual states can be accessed at www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org

ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane
 Reacts to the Passing of
 Astec Industries Founder Dr. J Don Brock

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement about the death of Dr. J. Don Brock:

“Don Brock was one of the greatest innovators in the history of modern road building.

“He founded Astec Industries in 1972 and transformed it into a leading global manufacturer of equipment for asphalt road building, aggregate processing, pipeline and utility trenching, oil, gas and water well drilling.

“A man of incredible intellect, Don’s vision for Astec was to apply creative thinking and state-of-the-art technology to traditionally low-tech industries and bolster them with a corporate culture that would become renowned for putting its customers first. He succeeded.

“As the holder of more 90 U.S. and foreign patents, Don touched virtually every phase of road building and related construction activity. In the process, he has made the nation’s roads and equipment safer and more efficient, durable, environmentally friendly and profitable.

“In 2011, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Foundation created its TransOvation™ program for the specific purposes of fostering innovative thinking within the transportation design and construction industry and publicly recognizing its proven innovators. The name played off the meanings of three words—transportation, innovation and ovation. The program is aimed at educating elected officials and the public about the outstanding return on investment the public receives from key transportation infrastructure improvements.

“At a 2012 dinner in Memphis, friends of Don Brock, led by then Heritage Construction & Materials CEO Charlie Potts, hosted the largest one night fundraising dinner in the history of the ARTBA Foundation and re-named the program the Dr. J. Don Brock TransOvation™ Workshop & Exhibit in honor of his lifetime achievements.

“Don may have passed from this earth, but his legacy and pioneering spirit live on, and he will inspire a new generation of innovators who seek to build a better world for all through transportation infrastructure.

“ARTBA extends its deepest sympathies to his wife, Sam, and the entire Brock family.”