In a famous 1910 speech delivered in Paris, President Teddy Roosevelt extolled the virtues of the “man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”
In the same vein, and as it applies to a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), I can tell you that ARTBA and its volunteer leaders will remain in the policy arena and are prepared to be marred with more dust and sweat and blood as we continue to take the fight to Congress.
To that end, in November and December, I authored a series of op-eds—eight as of this writing—that have appeared in the hometown newspapers of key Republicans and Democrats on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which will play a pivotal role in addressing the HTF’s challenges. The piece warned of the next financial crisis facing the HTF in May, explained the importance of the Trust Fund to their state’s highway and transit improvement program and local economy, and urged lawmakers to take swift action early next year to avoid disrupting the spring construction season. A permanent HTF solution is my top priority as your new ARTBA chairman.
Once an HTF funding solution is identified, ARTBA will pivot and lead the industry charge in advocating for a significant boost in highway, bridge and transit investment as part of the
reauthorization of MAP-21.
To achieve these goals, however, will require an even bigger number of industry firms and state contractor chapters to support the “Transportation Makes America Work” (TMAW)
lobbying and advocacy communications program. TMAW dollars will be wisely invested to help ensure our industry’s messages are properly delivered to intended targets through a variety of mediums, and to bolster the program of work of coalition allies.
Beyond the Public Policy Goals
Beyond the policy goals on Capitol Hill, I will devote energy to helping ARTBA grow by recruiting new members, with special emphasis on some of the emerging international firms that are
doing business in the U.S. market.
Looking to the future, ARTBA also has Generation Y, or Millennials, in mind with the recent launch of a Young Executive Leadership Task Force. The group, which will convene in January, is charged with developing “specific recommendations for the consideration of the ARTBA Board of Directors on how to expand the association’s base of younger industry executives and better engage them in its activities, leadership structure and advocacy core mission.” It’s no coincidence their work comes as we commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Young Executive Development Program (YEDP) in 2015.
Finally, in the safety arena, ARTBA will be developing a comprehensive new training program that has been requested by the industry. It will be rolled out early in the year.
It is an honor to be elected as ARTBA Chairman. Our collective goals are ambitious. I know you all will join me in the arena as we work together to achieve them.