By Allison Klein, vice president of member services, ARTBA

ARTBA Chairman David Zachry this month braced more than 200 industry executives at the association’s four regional meetings for the ongoing battle to put federal highway and transit investment on solid financial footing for the long-term. He emphasized the importance of grassroots involvement by member firms.

“The most effective way to educate members of Congress is to put a local face on the issue,” Zachry said. “Your senators and representatives need to know about the people your companies employ and how the decisions they will make about the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund impacts your company, the economy and jobs and quality of life for the people of your community.”

The annual regional meetings were held over the first two weeks of December in Louisville, Kentucky; Las Vegas, Nevada; Providence, Rhode Island, and Kansas City, Missouri. ARTBA staff and industry leaders addressed a variety of important federal and state transportation construction issues and developments. There were in-depth panel discussions on the state of the transportation construction and design industry; updates on the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and regulatory developments; detailed reviews of high-profile transportation projects in each of the four regions; keynote presentations from state transportation department secretaries; and regional market updates from ARTBA’s Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black.

Many attendees indicated they are generally pleased with passage of the FAST Act because it creates market stability, especially regarding their employment decisions. Several members said they wish Congress, at the very least, had indexed the federal user fee, which hasn’t been adjusted since 1993.

Participants received a wealth of information that directly impacts their firms, and also took advantage of numerous networking opportunities.