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ARTBA chair makes case for infrastructure package

By |  May 1, 2020
Photo: iStock.com/kozmoat98

Says ARTBA chairman Steve McGough: “After the Great Recession of 2008, it took eight years – until 2015 – for the levels of highway and street construction activity to return to 2007 levels.” Photo: iStock.com/kozmoat98

Steve McGough, chairman of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), called on the Trump administration and Congress on Wednesday to take immediate steps to stabilize state transportation programs and enact a multi-year plan that dramatically increases federal highway, bridge and public transportation investment.

McGough, the president and CFO of Houston-based HCSS, delivered remarks during a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) virtual listening session led by Secretary Elaine Chao, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Nicole Nason and Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Mala Parker.

“As ARTBA has reported each night since mid-March, nearly all of the nation’s governors have declared transportation construction work as essential,” McGough says. “However, we can only keep operating as long as the resources exist to pay for needed transportation improvements.

“After the Great Recession of 2008, it took eight years – until 2015 – for the levels of highway and street construction activity to return to 2007 levels,” adds McGough ,whose remarks came one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell articulated that Congress will not pursue infrastructure as part of ongoing stimulus talks.

If a robust infrastructure plan is not put in place soon, McGough says the nation is going to pay a price that’s far greater than a good highway bill.

“FHWA stands ready to assist our transportation partners such as ARTBA with the challenges they are currently facing in any way we can,” Nason says. “We share the goal of working together to protect the safety of the public and the workers who are tasked with building, operating, and maintaining our transportation systems.

“Our continued coordination and collaboration will be critical to our success in delivering our transportation programs and keeping America moving,” she adds.

The ARTBA chairman outlined other key transportation construction industry recommendations to help America’s economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic. McGough asked the DOT to continue exploring ways virtual public meetings can fulfill requirements for input relating to projects, as well as allow states to opt out of certain guidance provisions for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

In addition, McGough asked DOT to finalize improvements to the hours of service rule to enable more efficient use of personnel on projects and establish a working group with the transportation secretary’s office, FHWA, state DOTs and the industry to identify and address all project-related issues.

According to ARTBA, leaders from the Associated General Contractors of America and the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials also delivered remarks during the listening session.


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Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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