202-289-4434 ktaylor@artba.org

Lane Construction Corporation Chief Bob Alger Elected ARTBA Chairman

By Mark Holan
mholan@artba.org

Robert “Bob” E. Alger began his transportation construction career with a trio of tips and a trifecta of tenders.

He took all three pieces of advice from his father: “Be honest; be trustworthy; and work hard. You’ll have a job for life.”

Of course, the younger Alger could only accept one of the three job offers he received after earning a civil engineering degree from Penn State University. He picked The Lane Construction Corporation 40 years ago and never looked back.

Dad was right.

ARTBA’s 2018-2019 chairman started at Lane as a job engineer on the Cowanesque Dam in Pennsylvania. He ascended through the ranks as a project manager, district manager, and executive. He was named Lane’s president and CEO in 2001.

Under his leadership, the company has grown from a regional Northeast contractor to become a national transportation and heavy civil construction powerhouse. Revenues have grown from $350 million in 2001 to $1.7 billion in sales volume. Massive Lane-built highway, bridge, tunneling, rail, transit, airport, dam and lock projects are helping connect and improve communities in multiple states across America.

“You always knew who the up-and-coming leaders of the organization were, whether you worked with them or not,” said Lane Chief Operating Officer Mark Shiller, a 30-year company veteran.

“Bob definitely stood out as one of the individuals who was going to rise to the top,” Shiller said. “There was no question in my mind, or the minds of others. His leadership qualities were well known.”

Alger’s roster of ARTBA volunteer leadership positions includes: senior vice chairman, first vice chairman, Contractors Division president, Contractors Division first vice president, ARTBA Foundation trustee, and Trans2020: “MAP-21 Policy Promotion, Implementation & Funding Enhancement Task Force” co-chair.

His leadership roles also extend to other industry groups. He’s a founding member of the Construction Industry Ethics and Compliance Initiative (CIECI) and Construction Industry Safety Initiative (CISI) group, which promotes Safety Week annually across the country. He’s a past president of The Moles, The Beavers, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Construction Institute. He’s also a past chairman of the Construction Industry Roundtable (CIRT).

Bob and his wife, Joan, have two adult children, Bob, Jr., and Lauren.

“Bob lives his personal life by the same values he leads his business life,” said David Benton, executive vice president at Lane. “He is very much a family man. I am proud of the fact that I have Bob as a boss, but I am equally proud of the fact that I have Bob as a very close friend.”

Chairman’s Agenda

Alger outlined his chairman’s agenda during an October presentation at ARTBA’s national convention in New York City.

He said ARTBA would remain laser-focused on its core mission of transportation market development by working to achieve three main goals: a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund; passage of a new infrastructure investment package that includes significant investments in the National Highway Freight Network; and laying the groundwork for the scheduled 2020 reauthorization of the FAST Act highway and transit investment law.

The association will also “continue to collaborate with federal agencies to build a regulatory environment conducive to more efficient and safe project delivery,” he added.

Special focus will be given to expanding the number of firms and organizations supporting ARTBA’s Transportation Makes America Work lobbying and advocacy communications program to help ensure the industry has the necessary financial resources to achieve its legislative and regulatory goals, Alger said.

In the safety arena, the continued growth of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ (SCTPP) program, is another priority. The SCTPP was launched by industry executives and safety leaders in fall 2016.

“Safety training and education have always been core ARTBA competencies,” Alger said. “We will continue to build greater awareness and participation in safety certification programs by contractors and public agencies.”

Finally, Alger highlighted his plans to engage ARTBA officers and directors, the Industry Leader Development Council, and Women Leaders Council to increase “peer-to-peer” membership development outreach.

“There’s a lot of work of ahead of us,” Alger said. “We’ve got to understand that, then roll up our sleeves, put on our hard hats, and let’s go do it.”

Mark Holan is ARTBA’s editorial director.


Alger’s Honors

• ASCE’s Outstanding Project & Leadership Award, 2013
• The Moles Award for Outstanding Achievement in Construction, 2011
• Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award from Penn State’s College of Engineering, 2006

Lane’s First ARTBA Chairman
Bob Alger is the second leader of The Lane Construction Corporation to become ARTBA chairman. Lane President William R. Smith took the wheel of the association at its 28th annual meeting in 1931.

Attendees at that St. Louis convention discussed a $12 billion road construction program, split equally between the federal government and then 48 states, to relieve the massive unemployment of the Great Depression.

John S. Lane started the Connecticut-based company in 1890 as a stone-crushing operation for railroads and streets. The firm quickly expanded its operations throughout New England and New York State.

By the Great Depression, Lane had paved more than 1,400 miles of roadway, becoming one of the largest highway contractors on the East Coast.

In 2016, Lane was acquired by Salini Impregilo Group, a global construction contractor specializing in hydro and dams, railways, metro systems, roads, and motorways.

Transportation Construction Market Projected to Near $280 Billion in 2019

By Dr. Alison Premo Black
ablack@artba.org

The U.S. transportation infrastructure market is expecting 4.2 percent real growth in 2019, after adjusting for project costs and inflation, according to ARTBA’s annual forecast. Increased transportation investment from all levels of government—federal, state and local—will help drive this growth across all modes.

Market activity is expected to reach $278.1 billion in 2019, up from 2018’s $266.9 billion.

The transportation construction market also grew by 4.2 percent in 2018, driven largely by gains in airport terminal and runway construction, which increased by $5.8 billion, or 33 percent.

Spending on public highway and street construction rose by $2.7 billion—5 percent—in 2018, recovering some of the market decline in this sector from 2017.

Port and waterway construction and private highway and bridge construction associated with residential and commercial developments also grew in 2018. Infrastructure construction by Class I railroads and public bridge and tunnel construction were down 4 percent and 2 percent in 2018, respectively.

Federal transportation investment received a boost from the FY 2018 appropriations bill—Congress provided an additional $5 billion that will be available over the next four years. The $2.5 billion for highway programs is in addition to an increase of $930 million approved as part of the core highway program under the 2015 FAST Act law.

Market Risks

One wild card in the forecast is the outlook for the reauthorization of the FAST Act and the ability of Congress to find additional revenues to support the Highway Trust Fund. If states start delaying projects in response to uncertainty over the future of the federal-aid highway program, then it would temper 2019 market growth.

Overall, highway construction market activity is expected to increase in about half of the states and Washington, D.C. in 2019. Some of the largest markets include California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Other market risks include uncertainty over material prices, increased labor costs and potential labor shortages in some regional markets.

ARTBA estimates project costs, which remained below general inflation between 2013 and 2016, rose 2.7 percent in 2017 and 3.8 percent in 2018, largely due to increased costs for diesel fuel and materials.

Price data shows that average annual prices in 2018 for steel products were up between 6 and 14 percent, depending on the type of product, compared to 2017.

It is difficult to isolate the impact of tariffs on the price of steel-related products from other market forces, such as the cost of energy, transportation or input materials. But the uncertainty created by the steel and aluminum tariffs enacted in March 2018 will continue to have an impact on the highway construction market as contractors include that dynamic in their bids and cost structure. Industry wages for employees on job sites were up 3 percent in 2018. The forecast assumes that project costs in 2019 and beyond will increase at the historical rate of 2.7 percent as energy prices stabilize.

Among the forecast highlights:

Public & Private Highway, Street & Related Construction

ARTBA estimates that work on private highways, bridges, parking lots and driveways will increase from $65.9 billion in 2018 to $69.1 billion in 2019, and will continue to grow over the next five years as market activity increases in those sectors. This data is captured by the U.S. Census Bureau as part of residential and commercial construction investment.

The real value of public highway, street and related work by state DOTs and local governments—the largest market sector—is expected to increase by 5 percent to $66.5 billion after growing 4.5 percent in 2018.

Strong growth in large states are expected to drive national gains. California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia have shown significant increases in contract awards over the last year, a leading indicator of highway construction activity in those states.

The impacts of the $2.5 billion increase in federal transportation investment through the FY 2018 appropriations process will vary, depending on the timing of state obligations and the awarding of projects through several U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) discretionary programs. But overall, this boost will contribute to growth in 2019. The increase in state and local revenues through user fee increases, bond programs, ballot initiatives and other funding mechanisms also will support additional activity next year.

Bridges & Tunnels

The pace of bridge & tunnel work slowed in 2018 but is expected to resume growth of 1.5 percent in 2019. Bridge and tunnel activity fell slightly from $31.9 billion in 2017 to $31.2 billion in 2018, after adjusting for project costs and inflation. It is expected to grow to $31.7 billion in 2019, with the pace increasing to over 2 percent annually in 2020 and beyond. Light Rail, Subways, & Railroads Public transit and rail construction is expected to grow from $19 billion in 2018 to $20 billion in 2019, a 5.7 percent increase.

Airport Runways & Terminals

The value of airport construction, including terminals, runways and related work, is expected to increase 4.4 percent from $23.2 billion to $24.3 billion. After growing 38 percent in 2018, airport terminal and related work, including structures like parking garages, hangars, air freight terminals and traffic towers, is expected to increase from $18.4 billion in 2018 to $19.2 billion, an increase of 4.5 percent. Runway work, which was up 18 percent in 2018, is forecasted to increase from $4.9 billion in 2018 to $5.1 billion in 2019.

There are currently 11 major airport expansion projects over $1 billion that are underway or about to begin in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Ports & Waterways

The value of port and waterway investment is expected to grow 3 percent to $2.6 billion in 2019. Construction activity in 2018 was $2.5 billion, up from $2.2 billion in 2017.

The ARTBA forecast is based on a series of proprietary econometric models for each mode and analysis of federal, state and local data and market intelligence.

Dr. Alison Premo Black is ARTBA’s chief economist.

Purchase ARTBA’s 2019 Market Forecast

ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black’s comprehensive multi-modal transportation construction market forecast is available for sale.

Member Price: $225 Non-Member: $300

Purchase: www.artbastore.org.

Voters Re-Elect State Lawmakers Who Supported Gas Tax Increases, New Analysis Finds

Click here to view the full report.

Voters in 12 states re-elected 93 percent of 530 state lawmakers who supported a gas tax increase between 2015 and 2018 and ran for re-election in 2018. Winning state lawmakers in Nov. 6 races included 92 percent of Republicans, and 94 percent of Democrats, according to a new analysis from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC).

The results are consistent with those from the last five years that show support for a gas tax increase does not hurt political careers. Including 2018, voters have re-elected 92 percent of nearly 1,900 state lawmakers who voted in favor of a gas tax increase since 2013. This support for lawmakers who approve a gas tax increase persists across party lines as well— over 90 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of Republicans were re-elected.

Ninety percent of 211 state legislators who voted against a gas tax increase and ran for re-election in 2018 won their races, including 88 percent of Republicans and 96 percent of Democrats.

Of the 923 elected officials who voted against a gas tax increase between 2013 and 2018 and ran for re-election, 92 percent were also given another term.

A comprehensive report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.

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

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

Special Report: The 2018 Election Results & Federal Transportation Investment/Policy

Click here to view the full report.

Overview

The Democratic Party’s successful election night takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives will return Washington to an era of divided government in 2019. This marks the fourth mid-term election in a row that at least one chamber has flipped partisan control and brings to an end an eight-year leadership run for Republicans in the House.

As expected, a favorable map – where Republicans defended eight seats and Democrats had to protect 25 – in the Senate allowed for Republicans to pick up seats in the upper chamber. The majority is 52-49, but could an additional three seats after final races are called in Florida, Arizona and Mississippi.

While there will be no shortage of spin from both sides about what the 2018 elections mean for each party and its prospects in the 2020 elections, ARTBA is focused on what the makeup of the next Congress means for efforts to advance an infrastructure package that leaders in both parties have advocated since the 2016 election and a permanent Highway Trust Fund revenue solution.

House Democrats will theoretically be able to pass legislation without GOP votes due to the chamber’s institutional rules that greatly advantage the majority party. However, the Senate is more complicated. Even with the GOP gains, it will not have the 60-vote super majority needed to bypass the chamber’s rules that empower the minority to stop any legislation with 41 votes—a threshold Democrats will exceed by at least five votes. As such, bipartisan legislation and compromise between House and Senate leaders and President Trump will be necessary to get the simplest of bills enacted, let alone major pieces of legislation.

The end of one election cycle immediately transitions to the next. Not only will the presidential election be on the minds of leaders in Washington, but a similarly difficult Senate map to the one that confronted Democrats in 2018 essentially flips for the GOP in 2020, with 23 Republican seats up for grabs compared to 11 for the Democrats. A House of Representatives with only a likely 5-10 seat majority for Democrats will add increased volatility to a 2020 election where just about any scenario is possible.

While it would be naïve to suggest the 2020 election will not loom over nearly all legislative strategy decisions made by leaders of both parties for the next two years, it does not necessarily portend gridlock across the board. There will be efforts by both parties to showcase not only their ideas and direction for the country, but also their ability to lead and work across the aisle. Of all the major issues before Congress, few can rival the broad bipartisan support that transportation investment and policy reforms have routinely enjoyed as evidenced by the fact that the FAST Act and MAP-21 surface transportation bills were enacted under divided government.

Another key advantage for the federal transportation programs is the looming Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall and expiration of the federal highway and transit programs in 2020 that will require congressional action of some form in the next two years. Despite the predictions of legislative partisan gridlock and bruised egos following Tuesday’s elections, we are looking at another busy couple of years on the transportation front.

Voters Across the Nation Demonstrate Support for Transportation Investment

Click here to view the full report.

Voters in 31 states Nov. 6 once again showed their support for transportation infrastructure investments, approving 79 percent of 346 state and local ballot measures. In the most closely watched initiative (Proposition 6), California voters turned back an effort (55 percent to 45 percent) to repeal an increase in the state gasoline and diesel motor fuels tax that had been previously approved by the legislature as part of a 2017 transportation funding law. That decision by voters will help preserve more than $50 billion for urgently-needed highway, bridge, transit improvements in California over a 10-year period.

In total, the 272 approved initiatives are expected to generate over $30 billion in one-time and recurring revenue, according to the analysis conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC).

The 2018 preliminary results reaffirmed the trend of recent years demonstrating strong voter support for investments to maintain and improve their state/local transportation networks. Including 2018, voters have approved 78 percent of nearly 1,700 transportation investment ballot measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC since 2009.

Voters in California preserved the $5.2 billion annual transportation investment supported by the gas and diesel fuel tax increase. The repeal attempt was part of a larger effort by Congressional leaders to increase Republican voter turnout in several key California Congressional districts.

A proposed state gas tax increase in Missouri met unexpected resistance at the polls, with voters rejecting the measure 54 percent to 46 percent. Opponents of the measure questioned why $288 million of the estimated $412 million in new annual revenue would be directed to state highway police, which may have been a contributing factor in the defeat.

In Colorado, voters rejected two measures to provide new transportation investments. Proposition 109, a measure to provide one-time funding with a $3.5 billion bond, was rejected 39 percent to 61 percent. Proposition 110, which would have increased the state sales tax by 0.62 percent for 20 years and provided an initial jumpstart with a $6 billion bond, also failed, 40 percent to 60 percent. Both measures were placed on the ballot through voter referendum. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates it is facing a $25 billion transportation funding gap over the next 25 years. Despite the loss, voters are not done with transportation funding; 2018 legislation authorized a $2.3 billion bond ballot measure for roadways and transit improvement for the November 2019 ballot, which would only appear if both 2018 ballot measures failed.

Some additional highlights include:

• Statewide measures to protect transportation funds from being diverted to non-transportation purposes passed in Connecticut and Louisiana.

• Florida approved nearly $25 billion in new transportation investment revenue, the most through local ballot measures.

• Of the 337 local ballot measures, most (229) asked voters to approve property tax increases, primarily in Ohio (165) and Michigan (49) where many municipalities consistently ask voters to renew ongoing taxes to pay for local roads and infrastructure repairs.

• Sales/income taxes generated the most approved revenue ($27.53 billion).

Earlier in the year, voters approved 192 measures for an additional $6.4 billion in transportation revenue. The market impact of these ballot measures is difficult to project as revenue approved ranges from immediate one-time investment to a contribution made annually for as long as 30 years.

The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.

Dave Bauer Named New ARTBA President & CEO

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Dave Bauer has been named president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), effective Jan. 1, 2019. The unanimous decision of the association’s board of directors was announced earlier this month at ARTBA’s National Convention, held in New York City.

Bauer succeeds Pete Ruane, who retires Oct. 31 after 30 years of service. Ruane was the longest tenured head of the 116-year-old organization.

Long time ARTBA Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer William D. Toohey, Jr., who has been with the association 34 years and had announced his intention to retire in April 2019, was appointed interim president and CEO by the board and will assist in the transition process.

Bauer joined ARTBA in 1997, and currently serves as its executive vice president of advocacy.

“Dave Bauer’s encyclopedic knowledge of transportation policy issues, his non-partisan approach, and his strong relationships with the staff, the association’s membership and its industry coalition partners make him the right person to lead ARTBA,” said David Zachry, chief executive officer of the Zachry Corporation, an international construction firm based in San Antonio, Texas. “Dave earned this position with his enthusiasm, energy and plan for the future.” Zachry chaired the search committee charged with finding the association’s new top executive.

“I am humbled and energized by this new opportunity,” Bauer said. He added: “While this is a personnel change for the association, it is not a mission change. ARTBA will continue its aggressive advocacy work to grow and protect the nation’s transportation infrastructure market to meet the demand for safe and efficient mobility.”

Bauer, as head of ARTBA’s government relations team, has directed the association’s lobbying, grassroots initiatives, policy development, regulatory engagement, political fundraising and disbursements.  He played a key leadership role in the passage of four major federal highway and public transit investment laws: TEA-21 (1998), SAFETEA-LU (2005), MAP-21 (2012) and the FAST Act (2015).

Bauer accepted an “Industry Partner Award” on ARTBA’s behalf from the Renewable Fuels Association in 2005 that recognized his work to help ensure ethanol blended motor fuel is appropriately taxed to support federal Highway Trust Fund investments. The policy reform boosted revenues for transportation programs by more than $2 billion per year.

“After a rigorous search process, Dave Bauer was clearly the best choice to lead ARTBA’s  outstanding staff,” ARTBA Chairman Bob Alger, president and chief executive officer of Connecticut-headquartered Lane Construction Corporation, said. “His passion and unwavering commitment to advancing ARTBA’s mission will help drive his—and the association’s—success.”

Prior to joining ARTBA, Bauer spent seven years on the personal staff of U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.).

Originally from Oregon, Bauer graduated from Willamette University in 1990 with a B.S. in economics. He earned a master’s in business administration degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

He and his wife, Julie, and two sons, Davis and Josh, reside in Alexandria, Va.

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

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Lane Construction Corporation Chief Bob Alger Elected ARTBA Chairman

Lane Construction Corporation Chief Bob Alger Elected ARTBA Chairman

(WASHINGTON)—Robert (Bob) E. Alger, P.E., president and chief executive officer of Cheshire, Connecticut-based The Lane Construction Corporation, has been elected 2018-2019 American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) chairman. The association made the announcement Oct. 1 at its national convention in New York City.

Alger’s entire 40-year career in the transportation construction industry has been spent with Lane, where he started as a job engineer in Pennsylvania and rose through the ranks as a project manager, district manager and executive. He was named president and CEO in 2001.

Under his leadership, the company has grown from a regional Northeast contractor to become a national transportation and heavy civil construction powerhouse. Revenues have grown from $350 million in 2001 to $1.7 billion in sales volume. Massive Lane-built highway, bridge, tunneling, rail, transit, airport, dam and lock projects are helping connect and improve communities in multiple states across America.

His roster of ARTBA volunteer leadership positions includes: senior vice chairman, first vice chairman, Contractors Division president, Contractors Division first vice president, ARTBA Foundation trustee, and Trans2020: “MAP-21 Policy Promotion, Implementation & Funding Enhancement Task Force” co-chair.

Alger’s leadership roles extend to other industry groups. He’s a founding member of the Construction Industry Ethics and Compliance Initiative (CIECI) and Construction Industry Safety Initiative (CISI) group, which promotes Safety Week annually across the country. He’s a past president of The Moles, The Beavers, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Construction Institute. He’s also a past chairman of the Construction Industry Roundtable.

Among his noteworthy awards: the ASCE “Outstanding Project & Leadership Award” (2013), The Moles Award for Outstanding Achievement in Construction (2011) Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award from Penn State’s College of Engineering (2006).

Alger outlined his chairman’s agenda during a presentation at the ARTBA convention.

He said ARTBA would remain laser-focused on its core mission of transportation market development by working to achieve three main goals: a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund; passage of a new infrastructure investment package that includes significant investments in the National Highway Freight Network; and laying the groundwork for the scheduled 2020 reauthorization of the FAST Act highway and transit investment law.

The association will also “continue to collaborate with federal agencies to build a regulatory environment conducive to more efficient and safe project delivery,” he added.

Special focus will be given to expanding the number of firms and organizations supporting ARTBA’s Transportation Makes America Work lobbying and advocacy communications program to help ensure the industry has the necessary financial resources to achieve its legislative and regulatory goals, Alger said.

In the safety arena, the continued growth of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ (SCTPP) program, is another priority. The SCTPP was launched by industry executives and safety leaders in fall 2016.

“Safety training and education have always been core ARTBA competencies,” Alger said. “We will continue to build greater awareness and participation in safety certification program by contractors and public agencies.”

Finally, Alger highlighted his plans to engage ARTBA officers and directors, the Industry Leader Development Council, and Women Leaders Council to increase “peer-to-peer” membership development outreach.

Bob and his wife, Joan, have two adult children, Bob, Jr., and Lauren.

Watch a video about Alger on ARTBA’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiwpTAwI0Ek&feature=youtu.be.

Established in 1902, Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, federal agencies, the White House, news media and the general public.

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Thank you to a great organization and its members. The fight continues!

By T. Peter Ruane

I have been fortunate to have had some very serious experiences early in my career. They prepared me for the unique challenges of serving as president and chief executive officer of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association for the past 30 years.

ARTBA has a noble mission. It was one of the things that really attracted me to the job. And our singular mission hasn’t changed since the association was founded 116 years ago—growing and protecting the U.S. transportation infrastructure market to meet the public and business demand for safe and efficient mobility.

When it comes to serving a higher purpose, that’s right up there in my book. The U.S. economy literally rides on the work you, the men and women who comprise ARTBA, do. Your work product facilitates the American freedom of mobility and quality of life that are the envy of the world.

You are also what attracted me to ARTBA. In the association’s membership, I saw “doers,” risktakers, men and women of action who have great pride in helping build a better nation. That’s the kind of team I wanted to be part of and help lead.

ARTBA’s consistently strong volunteer leadership and state chapter grassroots network are its strength now, and will continue to be in the future. Of that I am sure because of the type of people ARTBA attracts. It has been my privilege to work with you.

Together, we have come a long way. Federal investment in highway and transit work alone has grown from $16 billion in 1988 to $60 billion today—almost double the rate of inflation. And while ARTBA certainly cannot take sole credit for that achievement, no other organization has devoted and focused more time and resources to that objective over the period. And that is because of you.

So I thank you.

I also thank the incredible ARTBA staff I’ve had the privilege of building and leading on your behalf. You have an extremely strong core group of seasoned, mission-driven veterans who will carry on the fight, backed by a team of highly talented, ambitious younger professionals. In my opinion, dollar for dollar, there is not a better staff in the Nation’s Capital.

Finally, I would be grossly remiss if I did not thank my wife and partner of 50 years, Pat, for the fantastic support she has given me. She deserves your thanks as well.

I will miss the battle. Securing a robust and sustainable revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund-supported programs remains Job #1. But I leave confident that with your continued strong personal and financial support of the association, you have the 9th inning pitchers and sluggers on your ARTBA Washington team to win the game.

Keep marching BOLDLY. The path to victory has been laid. Be ready to make the final push. Don’t ever quit!

(Pete Ruane retired from ARTBA on Oct. 31.)

No Summer Recess, Busy Fall Ahead on Regulatory Front

 

By Nick Goldstein

ARTBA members were busy this summer building and repairing the nation’s roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.

Likewise, the association was also active filing regulatory comments on a wide range of issues important to its membership. The association filed 12 sets of comments on the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposals to improve the regulatory process, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), project labor agreements (PLAs), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), among others.

Since June 1, ARTBA:

  • Urged the Trump Administration to overturn an executive order mandating PLAs for federal-air construction projects;
  • Supported common-sense legislative reforms to the ESA (including more predictable permitting schedules and better science for determining critical habitat);
  • Supported EPA and the U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers (Corps) efforts to withdraw the 2015 WOTUS rule through both individual and coalition comments. Additionally, ARTBA, as part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), reminded the agencies that any new version of WOTUS must abide by limitations set by the Supreme Court in the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers case;
  • Supported legislation introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) aimed at improving the Clean Water Act permitting process;
  • Supported an EPA proposal to increase considerations of costs and benefits during the rulemaking process and a proposal to increase transparency over the data used by agencies to make regulatory decisions;
  • Supported efforts by Nebraska to assume control over the NEPA process, which help reduce delays in the project review and approval process; and
  • Recommended changes to the NEPA process in response to a request from the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

Such activity will not be slowing down any time soon. The Trump administration has initiated multiple new rulemakings directly related to ARTBA’s regulatory reform priorities. They include:

  • Revisions to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s recordkeeping rules addressing ARTBA’s concerns about the privacy of employer’s data;
  • Discussing the impact stricter corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards have on Highway Trust Fund (HTF) revenues; and
  • Multiple revisions to the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules.

ARTBA will comment on all these issues and continue to represent the industry on the regulatory, legislative and litigation fronts.

For example, ARTBA continues to litigate the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule in the federal courts. At the same time, we await the administration’s new version of WOTUS, which we hope will bring clarity to the issue and state definitively that federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction does not include roadside ditches.

As always, you can keep track of all of these issues online with ARTBA’s Regulatory Scorecard, which is updated monthly.

Nick Goldstein is ARTBA’s vice president of legal & regulatory issues.

 

A Mighty Influence in the Land

ARTBA: “A Mighty Influence in the Land”
T. PETER RUANE
ARTBA President and CEO

In February 1902, a Michigan legislator, Horatio Earle, invited transportation leaders from across the U.S. to New York City’s Cadillac Hotel to start a new national association. He said it would be called “The American Road Makers (A.R.M.), which means it will never lower its arm until its purpose, ‘The Capital Connecting Government Highway,’ is attained, connecting every state capital with every other state capital, and every capital with the United States Capital—Washington.”

What we know today as the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) went to work. The association’s first major legislative victory came when President Wilson signed the 1916 Federal-Aid Road Act into law, cementing the federal government’s leadership role in national road building policy and funding. Subsequent federal laws in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s paved the way for the “mother” of all policy successes.

In June 1956, President Eisenhower signed legislation authorizing construction of the U.S. Interstate Highway System and creating a user-supported Highway Trust Fund to pay for it. The law represented the fulfillment of Earle’s vision and is among the greatest achievement ever by a national association.

The year 2017 was ARTBA’s 115th year of exclusively representing the interests of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry. ARTBA’s success over all these years can be attributed to at least two things: 1) remaining true to its core mission of building and protecting the U.S. transportation infrastructure market; and 2) ongoing contributions from outstanding volunteer leaders, industry-leading firms, and our state contractor chapters.

As examples, a look back in the archives finds ARTBA has played the industry leadership role in the passage of more than 30 major federal surface transportation investment or policy laws, in addition to the annual battles on transportation budget and appropriations bills.

Ninety-two people, representing all sectors of the industry, have been elected chairman by their peers. And eight of our 37 state chapters have been affiliates for 80 or more years. ARTBA even boasts a former U.S. president among its membership ranks—Harry Truman, a member of our public officials division early in his political career.

As roadway construction increasingly occurred among moving traffic in the 1970s and 1980s, ARTBA hosted the first National Conference on Highway Work Zone Safety in1985 in partnership with FHWA and AASHTO. This led to a second conference in 1994, and out of its proceedings, emerged the idea of a National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse to serve as a centralized information resource aimed at improving motorist and worker safety in these sites. ARTBA won the FHWA contract to create such a facility in 1997. Twenty years later, the Clearinghouse has become the world’s largest online resource on road construction safety and has materials available in seven languages. The latest example of ARTBA innovative leadership was the 2016 launch of the Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ program.
ARTBA industry leadership extends to the 1909 launch in Columbus, Ohio, of the “Road Show”—the forerunner of today’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG. ARTBA helped launch the Washington, D.C., “Road Gang” in 1942 and The Road Information Program (TRIP) in the late 1960s. The association was also a force in the international arena. We jointly held with the American Highway Association a “Pan-American Good Roads Congress” in 1916, created a European Division in 1930, and played a founding role in the International Road Federation (IRF).

Reflecting back on his career in his 1929 autobiography, Earle wrote:

“I have had a hand in the formation of county, state and national organizations for the betterment of public highways. Of all these, the most far reaching in its influence and benefits, was the founding of the American Road Makers… This organization has wielded a mighty influence in the land and, without doubt, has been the principal factor in winning the national battle for better roads. From a small membership, with comparatively little influence, it has developed into the most powerful organization of its kind in the world.”

Nine decades later, his statements still ring true!

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