By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA
With Congress facing an Oct. 29 deadline to reauthorize funding for federal highway and transit programs, ARTBA sent nearly 6,000 association members a ‘grassroots action alert’ on Oct. 14 asking them to buttonhole their U.S. House member while they are at home on recess. But as ARTBA President and CEO Pete Ruane pointed out, it wasn’t the usual call to action.
ARTBA members received a data-rich, customized, two-page profile quantifying how important highway and transit funding is to their individual congressional district. They were then asked to give that profile to their representative with the message “fix the Highway Trust Fund and pass a long-term highway and transit program reauthorization bill this year.”
ARTBA used data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Management Information System, Highway Performance Monitoring System, National Transit Data Base, National Bridge Inventory , Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and U.S. Commerce Department and Census Bureau information with ZIP code and county data for each congressional district to create the profiles. The profiles detailed items like the employment and wages supported by highway and transit investment in the district, how much federal highway funding the district received over the past 10 years, the number of structurally deficient bridges in the district, and much more.
See a sample here.
“We’ve analyzed and disaggregated multiple, large-scale federal data banks to paint the district situation for every member of Congress and show them what’s at stake. It hasn’t been done before for this program at this level of detail,” Ruane said, adding that ARTBA has at least one member in all 435 congressional districts.