By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
ARTBAâ€™s volunteer leaders, members, and staff this week in Washington, D.C., advocated for the transportation design and construction industry on several fronts:
- July 16: ARTBA Chairman Bob Alger, chairman of The Lane Construction Corporation, told a congressional hearing that the best way to increase investment in public transit and other transportation options is to provide a permanent revenue solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Â â€śCongressâ€™s chronic failure to fix the Highway Trust Fund program threatens all federal surface transportation programs,â€ť he said. His remarks drew praise from the top Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
- July 17: More than 80 people from 26 states attended the 6th Annual National Workshop for State & Local Transportation, a signature program of ARTBAâ€™s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC). â€śThe importance of this event likely isnâ€™t lost on anyone here,â€ť ARTBA President and CEO Dave Bauer said during his welcome remarks. While 31 states have increased their gas tax since 2013 and taken other measure to increase investment, the federal gas tax has not been increased since 1993 and the trust fund revenue shortfall has not been addressed.
- July 17-19: Professionals from design and construction firms, federal and state government agencies, and the legal and finance sectors gathered for the 31stÂ Annual Public-Private Partnerships (P3) in Transportation Conference. In spirited panel discussions, industry experts discussed shifts in P3 risk, the impact of federal deregulation, and new market opportunities. ARTBAâ€™s P3 Division announced its annual award winners, mentored the next generation of industry leaders, and named its new officers for the coming year.
ARTBA is pressing members of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee to develop a surface transportation reauthorization bill before Congress recesses for its summer break.
â€śItâ€™s common to belittle the outlook for action on infrastructure,â€ť Bauer said in his welcoming remarks to the P3 Conference, â€śbut over the last two years weâ€™ve had $10 billion of additional investment, and the EPW Committee is working on a reauthorization bill one year early instead of multiple years late.â€ť
Bauer emphasized, however, that, â€śWhile we are not where we want to be, we are clearly moving in the right direction.â€ť