Social media outlets – such as Twitter, Facebook, and a blog – can be effective ways to communicate with your membership, supporters, and the community without spending additional money. Having a carefully-crafted social media presence shows our audience that our organization is dedicated to always keeping them well-informed, not just when appeal letters are circulated. Users can also “share” these updates through their own social media outlets, broadening your reach within your supporters’ circles of influence. This past week ATB reached 1,001 followers and we are excited to do so. You as a member can follow us and you can post pictures, videos and links to other sites to interact with other followers and connect with prospective clients and current supports. Just log into your account and search for “Arizona Transportation Builders Association” Click here to see the page.
First and foremost, thank you to our wonderful speakers who committed their time in the evening to present to a record crowd of ATB members. Every year, this dinner has grown in attendance due to the information provided by our local agencies. In addition, thank you to our sponsors who always help make this event successful. Lastly, congrats to Marc Ruedas, Jr. who received this year’s Maggie Mozingo 4-year Scholarship. Marc will be attending Pima Community College Welding Program and he even attended the Southern Arizona Construction Career Days event. We have attached all the presentations to our webpage and you can view them by clicking here.
ATB would also like to thank Andrew Smith with Pinal County for presenting the upcoming Regional Transportation Plan to our members. The election will take place this November and this is the first of its kind in the Pinal region. You can view their presentation here.
Executive Director Ramon Gaanderse met with his peers from other States across the Country during the annual ARTBA Council of State Executives. Many States were represented to discuss various legislative affairs affecting our industry. This year the meeting was held in Park City, Utah and was hosted by the General Contractors Association of New York. We heard from the Utah Transportation Director Carlos Braceras, Jeff Clyde with WW Clyde and Rich Thorn from the AGC of Utah. It was great to hear the experiences and their positive collaboration to making Utah one of the best in planning infrastructure. We discussed many, many other legislative issues to tackle as a group of Executives from our various States. We also share what each State is doing, and how we can share various publications, marketing, etc. Ramon led a discussion about the recent City of Tucson resolution to consider “blacklisting” any contractor from doing work with the City if they worked on the border wall. Similar legislation was in California and starting in other States. During these meetings, they also discussed membership, event planning, fundraising and everything to do with managing an association. This is an annual event and much of it is learning. These ideas are then brought back to ATB and some are implemented over time.
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The State of Arizona is embarking on the safety of wrong way drivers but doing what no one else has; wrong way vehicle directional system. The Arizona Transportation Board approved a contract to install the system on Interstate 17 by using a thermal system. The signal will alert oncoming drivers and the highway patrol of vehicles traveling the wrong direction. This system will be installed later this month on a 15-mile stretch of the interstate and testing will continue until the early part of 2018. ATB will follow this and pass long updates as they come.
The House Appropriations Committee approved on July 17th, 31-20 legislation that would boost federal highway investment by $968 million in FY 2018 and cut a program that supports transit construction projects by $650 million. The FY 2018 transportation appropriations bill would, among other things, fund all programs administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The measure’s $44.23 billion in highway investment and $9.73 billion for the core transit formula grant program are consistent with the authorization levels in the 2015 “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.” However, the $1.75 billion included for the transit Capital Investment Grant Program is $650 million less than provided in FY 2017 and $550 million below the FAST Act authorization level. It is important to note the transit capital program is supported by general funds as opposed to Highway Trust Fund resources. Nearly 60 percent of the transit grant program funds—$1 billion—would be dedicated to projects with existing full-funding grant agreements with the Federal Transit Agency and no funds would be provided to the 10 projects currently awaiting an agreement. The Trump administration has proposed limiting the program to existing agreements and forcing states and localities to pay for future projects. The bill would also allocate $400 million of the remaining capital investment grants to a program established in the FAST Act to support joint rail/transit projects such as the New York/New Jersey Gateway Program. The legislation would also provide an additional $500 million for the program from accounts within the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to further fund the Gateway project. The measure would also eliminate funds for the TIGER multi-modal discretionary grant program launched under the Obama administration. While House appropriators have routinely zeroed out funds for this program, it should also be noted the $500 million in savings from this action is identical to the additional FRA funds dedicated to the program that would support the New York/New Jersey project. The Airport Improvement Program, which supports runway and other airport capital projects, would receive $3.35 billion under the measure—the same level of funding the program has been held at since FY 2012. ARTBA will continue pushing Congress to provide at least the levels of highway and public transportation investment authorized by the FAST Act. We will keep you posted as the House process moves forward and once details about the Senate plan are available and thank ARTBA for their continued support in sharing this with ATB.
Thank you to all who attended and sponsored our first ATB Autobahn Grand Prix event last Friday. It was a great time and we think we will do this again. We had about 56 participants that raced the track twice and enjoyed the “need for speed.” We will share some more photos in the coming weeks. The Team Winners are as follows:
1st – Alliance Geosynthetics (Ben, Randy, Reed and Tim) 19.549
2nd – McCraren Compliance (Mike, Ronnie, Eric and Jacob) 19.781
3rd – KE&G Construction (Doc, Rob, Jim, Mark, Matt, Sergio, Larry and Jesse) 20.014
Thanks to Jeffrey Fleetham, Director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, who is now part of the Southern Arizona Construction Career Days (SACCD) planning Committee did a great job on the radio the other week. We have edited the clip to hear what he said about the lack of skilled labor and how SACCD can really help the next generation of construction workers. Click the link below to listen. SACCD Plug July 2017 YouTube
Last week was the ARTBA’s 4th Annual Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC) conference in Washington, D.C.. Over 35 different States were represented including ATB’s Executive Director Ramon Gaanderse; for the second year. Of the two-day conference, many speakers spoke about successful ballot measures or local election for funding infrastructure. Speakers included New Jersey, South Carolina and India. In the past year over 137 bills were introduced for road funding versus 87 in the prior year. Sixteen States were successful in passing legislation. Of those, six States passed gas increases and taxes. That made it a 74% approval rating. While the elected official who voted to approve such taxes were re-elected by over 90% as many always fear what happens to those elected official after they approve these taxes. Four state lawmakers discussed legislative strategies and political challenges for funding roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure during the 4th National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates, hosted July 13 in the Nation’s Capital by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center. The panel included three Republicans: Tennessee Senate Speaker Pro Tem Jim Tracy, Louisiana state Rep. Kenneth Havard, and Montana state Rep. Frank Garner, and Oregon state Rep. Brad Witt, a Democrat. All four are members of their respective state’s transportation or finance committees. A few themes emerged from the panel discussion moderated by Rich Juliano, managing director of ARTBA’s P3 Division. Building credibility and trust is important. So is educating the public. “Make sure the money goes where you say it’s going,” Havard said. Louisiana faced strong skepticism because two projects promised during a 1989 gas tax increase, the state’s last, had not been completed. “Citizens really don’t trust government,” lamented Tennessee’s Tracy. The challenge is compounded at times by the public’s limited knowledge about how transportation construction is funded, and why it is important, Tracy said. Anti-tax, outside groups also muddy the debate with misinformation. “You have to hit them head on. They don’t have any solutions,” Tracy said. “You just have to be courageous.” Witt said Oregon’s DOT conducted 15 town hall meetings to educate taxpayers. Building strong statewide coalitions is also critical. “You get a lot of the problems fixed in advance with coalitions,” said Montana’s Garner. “As much of that work as you can get done before you walk in the [statehouse] door makes the process a lot more efficient.” Coalitions should be as broad-based as possible, he said, including non-traditional partners. Witt added that it is also important to neutralize the opposition. Finally, Tracy suggested a strategy that happens too infrequently in government: finding support across the political aisle.