From left to right: Anthony Attanasio, UTCA NJ; Michael Quigley, California Alliance for Jobs; Dennis Faulkenberg, Appian (Indiana); and Jordan Marsh, South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads.
Photo courtesy of Leslie E. Kossoff.
By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
Participation hit an all-time high at the 4th Annual National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates as transportation construction industry professionals, chamber of commerce executives, officials from public agencies and better roads groups and state legislators came together July 13 in the Nation’s Capital to share intelligence and best practices for building successful campaigns to boost infrastructure investment. It was hosted by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC).
ARTBA President Pete Ruane kicked off the event, highlighting the important role that the federal government plays in supporting transportation investment to the states.
“Be mindful that we have an awfully long way to go at the federal level,” Ruane said. “We still need your help with your members of Congress to make sure there is a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund.”
The Highway Trust Fund faces an average annual $19 billion shortfall just to maintain current highway and transit funding levels once the FAST Act expires in 2020. ARTBA continues pushing Congress to address the trust fund as part of any tax reform or infrastructure package that emerges.
One panel session featured four speakers highlighting how they were able to increase funding in their states:
- Anthony Attanasio, executive director of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey, said the successful campaigns have diverse coalitions in addition to offering a menu of funding options.
- Michael Quigley, executive director of the California Alliance for Jobs, emphasized the robust digital and social media campaigns, as well as targeted Spanish-language outreach.
- Dennis Faulkenberg, president of Appian, an Indiana-based advocacy group, said the campaign took a “Not if, but how” approach that emphasized the state’s needs were too large to be solved by one source.
- Jordon Marsh, vice president of South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads, said that advocates need to have good inside (politicians) and outside (press and public) for their campaign. He got a good chuckle as he introduced his campaign’s Twitter hashtag: #FIXTHEDAMNROADS.
ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black provided a review of recent funding trends, pending legislation and recent ballot initiatives. She noted 23 states have passed gas tax increases or other transportation-related revenues since 2013.
Attendance at the workshop has increased 75 percent since it was launched in 2014. Attendees hailed from 32 states this year. Visit TIAC’s website to learn more: www.transportationinvestment.org.