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