By ARTBA Chairman Steve McGough
President and CFO, HCSS

As someone who devoted eight years of high school and college to powerlifting, I learned at least three lessons that I think are relevant to ARTBA’s mission:

  • As we compete against others, we also must challenge ourselves to do better;
  • To achieve a heavy lift, you must do a lot of advance work; and
  • While there are often aches and pains, and adversity along the way, it’s worth it in the end.

Since 1902, ARTBA’s members in many instances have competed against each other to win transportation project work. Yet even as they have challenged each other, most have also been very successful in building their businesses. At the same time, they have been able to set those competitive juices aside when under the ARTBA roof to advocate consensus transportation investment and policy choices that are in the best interests of the American public when it comes to the improved safety, greater mobility, and stronger economic growth.

In the same spirit, in the year ahead, we aim to:

  • Keep the political pressure on Congress and the Trump administration to find a sustainable Highway Trust Fund fix with the necessary revenue to provide market stability and growth.
  • Pass a successor to 2015’s FAST Act by the end of 2020. The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s five-year reauthorization bill, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, offers a great road map. The House will have to develop companion legislation. ARTBA has been doing its “advance work” by sharing its 32-page member-developed legislative blueprint for the next bill and has met with nearly 100 House and Senate offices.
  • Ensure our industry is on the cutting-edge of integrating new technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence into our operations and how we design and build. This is both a workforce productivity and safety issue; one that’s close to me as ARTBA’s first chairman from a construction software company. The program and content focus of ARTBA’s 2019 National Convention on these topics in Savannah were the first foray in this effort.
  • Develop an official business plan to guide our strategic focus for the next 3-5 years. The ARTBA Board and Council of States Executives have already provided their feedback to get the process rolling. The Strategic Planning Committee meets this January in Charlotte. We’ll have more to share with the entire membership next spring

No doubt achieving some of these goals, particularly a Highway Trust Fund fix and surface transportation reauthorization bill, will indeed be “heavy lifts.” We will face adversity along the way. That’s to be expected in a contentious political environment.

Nevertheless, I remain optimistic because transportation investment remains an area for common ground among President Trump and congressional leaders, and because I also know that ARTBA’s members won’t quit until the job is done right.

It’s my great honor and privilege to have been elected 2020 ARTBA chairman. I look forward to working with all of you to face and meet the challenges ahead.

(This column appears in the November/December issue of Transportation Builder magazine, which also includes a cover story profile of Steve McGough.)