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SEPTEMBER 12, 2011
House Subcommittee Slashes Transportation InvestmentLevels
Obama Proposes Boost in Transportation Investment
The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee September 8 approved legislation cutting highway investment from $41.1 billion in FY 2011 to $27 billion in FY 2012—a 34 percent cut—and transit funding from $10 billion in FY 2011 to $7 billion in FY 2012—a 30 Continued on page 2
EPW Passes 8th SAFETEA-LU Extension The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee September 8 unanimously passed S. 1525, The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, to extend the authorization of the federal highway and bridge programs through January 31, 2012. The current authorization of the programs expires September 30. ARTBA and the ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition wrote Continued on page 3
Unveiled September 8 in a speech before Congress, President Obama’s $447 billion “American Jobs Act” (AJA) would, among other things, provide an immediate $50 billion investment in highways, transit, rail, and airport infrastructure improvements. It would also create a $10 billion infrastructure bank that would provide funds to leverage private investment in transportation, energy, and water infrastructure. According to senior U.S.
DOT officials, the $50 billion investment will contain many project selection criteria and reporting requirements included in the 2009 Recovery act’s transportation portions. The investments proposed in the AJA are in addition to the Administration’s calls one week earlier for a multi-year surface transportation bill. It is significant to note that unlike previous Administration calls for $50 billion in “up-front” transportation investment, the
President announced he will also make recommendations to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction that will attempt to pay for the cost of the AJA. That committee held its first meeting September 8 and must make its recommendations to Congress before Thanksgiving. As always, we will keep you apprised of new details on the AJA, reauthorization, and Deficit Committee deliberations as they become available.
ARTBA P3 Conference Early Bird Rate Expires Thursday, September 15: Register today! ARTBA Washington Newsline
Committee Republicans Cut Highway & Transit Investment
2010 & 2011 Hall of Fame Classes Inducted Watch the Video
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percent reduction. Republicans defeated an amendment offered by Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Democrat John Olver (D-Mass.) to keep investment at the FY 2011 levels . The FY 2012 transportation funding measure will next be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee, but no action has been scheduled at this time. ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane wrote members of the committee to oppose any cuts to current investment levels. The Highway Trust Fund is projected to be able to support current highway and transit investment through FY 2012.
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ART BA Washington Newsline
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November 30–December 1 Tampa, Fla. [Add to Calendar]
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Federal Issues Program & TCC Fly-In May 22–24 Washington, D.C.
Young Executive Development Program May 22–25 Washington, D.C.
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September 11–14 Memphis, Tenn.
Hall of Fame Class Inducted Three distinguished American engineers have been selected for induction into the highest place of honor in the transportation design and construction industry: ARTBA Foundation’s “Transportation Development Hall of Fame.” Launched in 2010, the Hall honors individuals or families from the public and private sectors who have made extraordinary contributions to U.S. transportation development during their careers.
A committee of judges comprised of construction industry journalists reviewed the nominees and selected: • James L. Lammie, former president and chief executive officer of Parsons Brinckerhoff; • Enoch Needles, a founding partner in HNTB Corporation; and • W. Denney Pate, senior vice president and principal bridge engineer at FIGG. They were honored at a September 7 gala dinner in Virginia.
Inductees from the inaugural 2010 class were also honored. They included: Bob Burleson, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, the Lanford Family of Roanoke, Va., and the late Philip Koehring, founder of the Koehring Machine Company in Milwaukee, Wis.
23rd Annual P3s in Transportation Conference Early Bird Registration Rate Expires This Week!
Products & Services Now Available: 2011 ARTBA “Transportation Officials & Engineers Database” The ARTBA TO&E Database is your one-stop guide to key local, state, and federal transportation officials. Offered as an Excel spreadsheet, it includes contact information for more than 6,000 state and local transportation departments and authorities. The database connects you to the people, agencies and programs you need to get ahead and stay ahead. Individual segments of the directory are available by region, state and occupation. Price: $475.00 Contact Peter Embrey for more information. To learn more about other products and services available, visit the ARTBA Store today!
November 15-16, 2011 Washington, D.C.
Mayflower® Renaissance Hotel www.renaissancemayflower.com 800.228.7697 The ARTBA P3 Conference is the private infrastructure investment community’s premier opportunity to connect with hundreds of key decision makers, project sponsors, private sector finance executives, consortium leaders and officials from all levels of government. It will also feature a half-day workshop with FHWA’s Office of Innovative Program Delivery, and an optional project tour of one of the nation’s largest P3 projects—the I-495 Capital Beltway HOT Lanes. Register by September 15 to take advantage of our early bird rate of $850 (members) and $1500 (non-members).
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Legislative & Regulatory News
last multi-year reauthorization expired in 2007—runs through September 16.
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ARTBA Files Brief in Supreme Court Clean Water Act Case
Senate EPW Approves Another Extension
Overheard Newspaper Editorial Reactions to President Obama’s Speech:
“…More public works spending, though this time we’re told the projects really will be shovel-ready… The unfortunate reality is that even if Republicans gave Mr. Obama everything he wanted, the impact on growth would be modest at best. “ “The Latest Jobs Plan: More Temporary and Targeted Tax Cuts and Spending Increases.”
“We are most enthusiastic about the infrastructure proposal, because it would accelerate spending that would have happened anyway and because the nation’s deteriorating roads and other facilities are such an obvious target for investment.” “Mr. Obama’s Jobs Plan: A Worthy Proposal, if Not a Panacea.”
September 7 urging all members of the EPW Committee to support the extension to preserve the continuity of federal highway and bridge investments while work on a multi-year reauthorization bill continues. Several other Senate Committees have jurisdiction over other components to the extension legislation and have not yet scheduled action. The House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee is also expected to act on an extension, but no details have been released.
Another FAA Short-Term Extension in the Works House T&I Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) acknowledged September 8 that the committee would soon take action on another shortterm extension of the federal aviation programs. The current extension—the 21st since the
ARTBA, in partnership with a group of eight trade associations, filed a “friend of the court” brief with the U.S. Supreme Court September 7 in the case of PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana, urging rejection of an overly expansive view of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The case concerns a decision by Montana’s Supreme Court that the entirety of three rivers are “navigable” because certain sections are used for recreational purposes. This case’s importance to transportation construction lies in the legal definition of a “navigable water.” Once a body of water is considered “navigable,” it falls under federal control and is subject to the permitting authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Having a court decision weaken the legal concept of aquatic “navigability” could lead to a scenario where the EPA and Corps would have the option to
“…It would accelerate $50 billion in improvements for highways, railroads, transit and aviation. We hope Mr. Obama keeps his promise to take his proposals all over the country. The need to act is urgent. “ “The Jobs Speech.” “More promising is Obama’s proposal for spending on roads, bridges, school construction and other infrastructure. Such work has to be done sooner or later, so why not accelerate it to create jobs now?” “Jobs Plan Deja Vu.” 4
ART BA Washington Newsline
Fostering Innovation TRB Newsletter: September 6, 2011
ARTBA is pleased to make available another service for members that highlights new research, technologies, industry best practices and information resources available to the transportation design and construction industry. This material comes from the Transportation Research Board. Read the most recent newsletter.
exert jurisdiction over roadside ditches. No date has been set for argument in the case. View the brief.
ARTBA News Breaking Down Barriers at TransOvation
John Hillman (left) and Ted Zoli
Last week at ARTBA’s TransOvation Workshop, a firstof-its-kind event, transportation design and construction professionals not only learned how to make their corporate culture more innovative, but also looked beyond problems and focused on solutions. Over the two-and-a-half days, the workshop was anchored by two industry leaders, Ted Zoli, a heralded bridge engineer and a vice president at HNTB, and John Hillman, with HC Bridge Company, whose known for his development of the Hybrid Composite Beam. With powerful presentations by 3M’s Jerry Karel and Nike’s Darcy Winslow, the program challenged attendees from the very beginning. Panelists highlighted groundbreaking innovations on two megaprojects, the Intercounty Connector in Maryland and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge near Washington, D.C. FHWA’s Byron Lord and a diverse group of industry representatives
led a discussion on alternative delivery and new bridge technology. And Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Dr. Rachel Arulraj, steered attendees into the world of 3D and 4D, and demonstrated the technology and its application to transportation projects. In an interactive setting during the latter part of the program, attendees formed groups and were challenged to address this question: “How can transportation infrastructure improvements help revitalize Detroit?” The groups developed some very interesting proposals, which will be shared in coming weeks. By the time the program ended Friday afternoon, September 9, at least one thing was clear: TransOvation attendees had worked successfully to break down barriers and change the rules of the game.
ARTBA Members Join FHWA Technology Workshop Two ARTBA members represented the association at a FHWA national workshop on emerging technologies in highway design and construction last week in St. Louis, Mo. Phil Hocher of Pace Construction in St. Louis, Mo., and Ben Biller of Burns & McDonnell in Kansas City, Mo., participated in the Intelligent Construction Systems & Technologies workshop on behalf of ARTBA’s Contractors Division and Planning & Design Division, respectively. ARTBA also co-sponsored the event, in which participants developed recommendations for promotion of new technologies to improve construction quality while reducing time and cost.
ARTBA Honors Women Leaders Seven individuals and organizations were recognized September 7 for extraordinary leadership, dedication to innovation and commitment to the helping advance the careers of women within the transportation construction industry during a gala dinner at ARTBA’s “TransOvation Workshop” in Virginia. The Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding leadership and long-term service in the industry, was presented to Parsons Brinckerhoff Senior Vice President Cathy Connor and RoadSafe Traffic Systems Senior Vice President Kathi Holst. The Glass Hammer Award honors
Vice President of Project Development Jo Ellen Sines and President Bill Cox, both of Corman Construction, accepted their company’s “Glass Hammer” award at a September 7 gala dinner.
organizations that have initiated innovative programs designed to promote women leaders. It was presented to AECOM, the Texas Transportation Institute, and Corman Construction. The Future Industry Spotlight Award, which recognizes college students with outstanding academic records and demonstrated leadership was given to Mary Robbins, Ph.D. candidate in civil engineering at Auburn University and Dimitra Michalaka, a Ph.D. candidate in transportation engineering at the University of Florida.
Download a PDF copy of the digital “Washington Newsline.” ARTBA Washington Newsline
The following op-ed appeared on Thursday, September 8.
RUANE: Road builders don’t want your stimulus Last time feds boosted spending, states just cut back Mr. President, the country doesn’t need another stimulus like the last one. The 2009 Recovery Act road and bridge initiative set the movement toward really improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure back big-time. Problem One is that it gave your administration and most members of Congress political cover to take a pass on tackling the multiyear reauthorization of the highway and transit program that was due Oct. 1, 2009. That’s been kicked down the road for two years. Only now, because the Highway Trust Fund has been bled dry, the program faces a potential 35 percent year-on-year cut - or complete shutdown - at the end of September. Problem Two is the Recovery Act set up the federal surface transportation programs for another unwarranted - but politically expedient - public-relations pasting. The “shovel ready” caricature of the road and bridge “stimulus,” crafted to counter right-wing criticisms, misplaced the focus of these investments on temporary results instead of long-term value. In the process, this rhetorical device helped denigrate the work of thousands of skilled Americans who plan and design transportation projects and operate multimillion-dollar pieces of sophisticated equipment. The federal program doesn’t patch potholes. Think Woodrow Wilson Bridge, the Metro and the Springfield Mixing Bowl. Establishing the transportation construction industry as the poster child and media backdrop for the job-creating power of the $825 billion “stimulus” left us holding the bag with our credibility damaged because the investment was too little. Far from the public perception created, the $27.5 billion road and bridge “stimulus” funding over three years, while certainly a significant amount, represented only 3.5 percent of total Recovery Act outlays. In context, it was just slightly more than half the amount the federal
government was already investing in this core function in a single year. In contrast, the Recovery Act authorized $237 billion in tax incentives for individuals. By virtually any measure we can find, the road and bridge stimulus was more of a job-saver than creator. I’m not saying the Recovery Act road and bridge funding was wasted, however - far from it. At peak spending in 2010, about 320,000 American jobs throughout the economy - 108,000 on construction sites - were being wholly supported by the initiative. Without the stimulus, most of those people would have been in the unemployment line if the states had still cut their own funding. The reason it did not create significant, new jobs as hoped is because it did not result in significant market growth. U.S. Census Bureau data show the total value of road and bridge construction work put in place across the nation in pre-Recovery Act 2008 was $81.4 billion. In 2009, it only grew $800 million to $82.2 billion. In 2010, it totaled $82.7 billion. Why didn’t we see growth? Many states, reeling from the recession and facing constitutional mandates for balanced budgets, simply substituted the federal stimulus dollars for their own investments. Contract data show 20 states put less money out for road and bridge work in either 2009 or 2010 than they had in 2008 - despite the additive “stimulus” funds. Seven states spent less on new contracts in both years. Notably, we have proven again the real power of transportation infrastructure investments vis-a-vis most government spending. Not only were American jobs supported, but we also have tangible capital assets that will facilitate economic activity for years ahead. Recovery Act dollars financed 13,385 road and bridge projects that resulted in 41,510 miles of improvements.
Now is the time to take what we’ve learned and do it right. Both the House and the Senate have developed highway and transit bills that are solid from a policy perspective and await action. There would be no more earmarks for “bridges to nowhere.” But there would be more performance standards and accountability. Many existing programs would be eliminated or streamlined to better meet national goals like maintaining the interstate highway system, attacking freight bottlenecks and easing congestion. The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, a successful loan program that sparks private investment in major projects, would be greatly expanded. Project delivery would be accelerated, saving time and money. What both bills lack is the robust funding Republicans, Democrats and independents know is necessary to meet the staggering highway and transit challenges that have previously been documented by congressionally chartered commissions, the U.S. Department of Transportation and private-sector groups. We will get what we pay for. Unlike the case with the Recovery Act, the federal surface transportation program requires states to provide matching funds in order to use federal dollars. This is critical. It helps ensure that only priority projects get funded. It also helps drive growth in state investment in their own infrastructure. A net growth program creates new jobs and ensures progress toward meeting future needs. Mr. President, America needs a sixyear surface transportation bill that is robustly funded. As you follow up on your job-creation proposals, think big. It will take your personal leadership to push the funding initiatives necessary to get it done. By Pete Ruane -The Washington Times
Published on Sep 11, 2011