By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

ARTBA Senior Vice Chairman Steve McGough, president and chief financial officer of Texas-based HCSS, has made a strong pitch for Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund and construction industry leaders to enroll their workers in the Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ (SCTPP) program.

The “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) of 2019” surface transportation reauthorization passed in late July by the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee shows that bipartisanship is alive and well in Washington, D.C., McGough told the “Construction Genius: A Leadership Master Class” podcast.

“The bill represents the first program reauthorization in nearly 15 years that would significantly increase federal investment in highway safety and mobility improvements,” McGough said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to happen. We are urging the House to move on it.”

McGough said that he recently met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, telling her the transportation design and construction industry doesn’t want to wait until 2020, when the current law–the FAST Act–expires. Extensions and other legislative delays force states to pull back on critical work, McGough told podcast host Eric Anderton.

For the nation to be competitive, Congress must fix the trust fund, including new user fees, he said.  “It’s critical we don’t just put our heads in the sand and wait for infrastructure to fail.”

McGough highlighted the value of his firm’s safety software, and also urged industry leaders to enroll their workers in SCTPP, the transportation construction industry’s only internationally-accredited safety program.

“It’s unlike any other,” he said. “It’s for the safety professionals, but just as important it’s for the other members in the field, the leader of your crew, the foreman, the superintendent, the project engineer.”

During the podcast, McGough also discussed workforce recruitment and retention issues, and adapting construction to rapidly changing technology.