By Dave Bauer

Striving for improvement and never accepting the status quo are as important today as in Churchill’s time. The power of such concepts is their application to government, business and our personal lives. They are certainly ARTBA foundational philosophies.

Dave Bauer

This is how the muddy roads ARTBA-founder Horatio Earle confronted in the early 20th century became transformed into the Interstate Highway System. It’s why we’ve launched voidfilling solutions such as the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC) and ANSI-accredited Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ (SCTPP) program.

Now, as your new ARTBA president, I believe it is time to improve—and expand—such initiatives, while remaining true to our core mission: market development and protection.

Aggressive Advocacy

The return of divided government provides ARTBA and its members with a unique opportunity. The new Democratic controlled House, along with the Republican-led Senate and President Donald Trump, each have identified infrastructure as an area for common ground. From ARTBA’s perspective, a permanent revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund is advocacy priority #1.

Coalitions and partnerships will be a strategic element of our efforts. ARTBA recently partnered with the American Public Transportation Association to quantify the overwhelming support (nearly 90 percent) from Republicans, Democrats and Independents for 2019 passage of a bill to significantly increase federal infrastructure investment. We will work with industry allies who share our commitment to ensuring Washington delivers.

Finally, to support contractor chapters and business groups working to increase funding at the state and local levels, we plan to expand TIAC’s activities. This includes valuable resources about legislation, ballot initiatives, and communications campaigns to advance the pro-transportation message.

Safety Certification

More than 300 industry professionals from 85 firms and public agencies in 36 states have become “safety certified” through the ANSI-accredited SCTPP program. And yet, we’ve just scratched the surface.

The 50,000 injuries and fatalities that occur in, and around, U.S. transportation project sites annually remains unacceptable. That’s why SCTPP is bringing the “safety vision” to the tens of thousands of people involved in transportation projects from inception to completion, not just safety professionals. Working with the Certification Commissioners and other leaders, we plan to certify as many people as possible to dramatically reduce the number of preventable safety incidents.

Looking further down the road, we envision bringing SCTPP to international audiences.

Expanded Member Engagement

An association’s success is driven in large measure by the engagement of its membership. ARTBA has been successful in the policy arena for 117 years because of its steadfast commitment to its mission and outstanding leadership contributions from its volunteers and state contractor chapter affiliates. But, the continual pace of change means that we can’t rest on our laurels. The recently-announced FAST Act Reauthorization Task Force, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Work Group, and Workforce Development Task Forces, present opportunities for new engagement.

Over the next year, I will travel outside the Beltway to visit key members and our state chapters. I want to hear personally from you about how ARTBA can provide tangible benefits that will help better meet your business needs. These efforts will also lay the groundwork for an upcoming strategic planning exercise.

As we move forward with making progress top of mind, any changes we make will be guided by the core values in our bylaws: “an action-oriented approach” coupled with “intelligent risk taking.” We may not realize perfection, but we will never falter in our commitment and determination to achieve it. Our members who design and build the nation’s transportation network—and the public that uses it—deserve nothing less.

Dave Bauer is president and CEO of ARTBA. This column appears in the January/February issue of Transportation Builder magazine.