Transportation advocates gathered in the nation’s capital in May to celebrate the 50th anniversary of TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit. Delayed by a year due to COVID-19, TRIP is celebrating five decades as the only national organization devoted exclusively to generating news and social media coverage of issues impacting the highway and transportation construction industry.

TRIP was founded in 1971 by a cross section of leaders in the highway and transportation construction industry, with startup money from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)  and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). In the ensuing years the fundraising mantle was taken up by Bill Reece, Reece Construction, representing the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Don Stabler, Stabler Construction Co., representing ARTBA, who traveled the country visiting AGC and ARTBA state chapters to garner early financial support for TRIP.

“For 50 years, AEM is proud to have partnered with TRIP in its mission to provide credible U.S. transportation infrastructure data and intel,” said Megan Tanel, AEM president. “Because of this partnership, we’ve successfully advanced bipartisan solutions to many of the country’s toughest challenges, ensuring that jobs supported by the transportation construction sector, including the 2.8 million U.S. equipment manufacturing jobs, will continue strengthening our economy and improving the lives of all Americans.” 

With a committed volunteer leadership and a dedicated staff, TRIP public education efforts to generate strategic and prominent news coverage of the industry’s issues and funding messages at the federal and state levels of government has never been stronger.

TRIP chairman Steve McGough, addressing the group

“ARTBA’s foundational investment in TRIP 50 years ago has paid great dividends,” said Steve McGough, president and CEO of HCSS, Sugar Land, TX, immediate past chair of ARTBA and current TRIP chairman. “And I can attest firsthand to TRIP’s  effectiveness in Texas.”

TRIP has produced more than 600 reports in all states, providing reliable data and information that is cited in state and national deliberations on transportation policy and funding. In 2021 alone, news coverage generated by the release of TRIP’s reports resulted in more than $36 million in earned media coverage. 

            “I’ve long been a TRIP believer and supporter,” said Tom Brown, president of Sierra Pacific West, Encinitas, CA, and 2022 vice president of the AGC of America’s board of directors. “Not only in the national forum, but also in my home state of California, TRIP’s efforts have and continue to shine a light on the real needs facing our surface transportation system.”

Today, TRIP’s national and state reports play an important role in addressing the nation’s current and future transportation challenges. TRIP has earned its reputation as a credible source in transportation policy and is positioned to continue to communicate information and messages that will be critical in supporting the nation’s ability to achieve the 21st Century transportation system that Americans need. 

“TRIP’s work is far from finished,” said Dave Kearby, TRIP’s executive director. “Over the last 50 years the messages may change, our target audiences and the ways we reach them may change, but the need is the same. A good surface transportation network is this nation’s lifeblood and we intend to ensure its future effectiveness.”

Editor’s note: Hats off to the TRIP organization, especiay its staff, which has done an incredible job of keeping the industry and the country informed about the trends, developments and needs impacting one of our nation’s most importasnt assets, its roads, bridges, streets and highways.

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