By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor ARTBA

The new deputy director of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Jeff Marootian, told members of ARTBA’s local chapter that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed FY 2018 budget “wisely invests in core transportation projects that will help to improve and repair” the area’s infrastructure.

Addressing about 60 members of the Metropolitan Washington Road & Transportation Builders Association (MWRTBA) on May 25 at the new ARTBA offices, Marootian noted the mayor’s Capital Improvements Plan includes $1.9 billion in planned capital expenditures. The total proposed appropriation request for FY 2018-2023 is $6.64 billion from all sources, including municipal bonds, federal grants and a local match to grants from the Federal Highway Administration.

The huge South Capitol Street project, which includes the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and reconstruction of the surrounding area, will soon announce the contractor award, Marootian said. DDOT manages hundreds of projects across the District, and details are available on the agency’s website.

Dr. Alison Premo Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, and Lital Shair Nada, economics research associate, provided a localized transportation market outlook for the MWRTBA members. Black noted the December 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which reauthorized federal surface transportation programs through FY 2020, provided some stability for the industry. But it fell short of providing a long-term plan to provide stability for funding, she said, including a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund.

Black also provided an update on the many states that have taken the transportation funding issue into their own hands by raising gas taxes or adjusting gas tax formulas in order to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure.

MWRTBA’s members include contractors, subcontractors, materials suppliers, engineering firms, law firms, accounting firms, bonding and insurance firms, the construction equipment industry, and the traffic safety products industry in the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Washington area. Contact MWRTBA Executive Director Mike Sakata or visit www.mwrtba.org to find out more.