February 7, 2011
From Better Roads Editor-in-Chief John Latta at the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) annual meeting in Orlando
We may not see people to pour into the streets, but we do need some form of populist movement if we are to squeeze as many funding dollars as possible out of Washington, D.C.
I’m paraphrasing the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President Pete Ruane and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Executive Director John Horsley as they addressed the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) annual meeting.
Only public pressure can avoid what Ruane calls policy “failure.” The problem, in a nutshell, seems to be that the House will come up with a woefully underfunded bill and the Senate will try to take some of the sting out of it but won’t be able to do enough to give the industry what it needs.
On the other hand, there will be a bill this year perhaps by late summer according to both men. But the House isn’t listening to anything as basic as even the facts, says Ruane, so there is a blind dedication to cutting funds regardless of how vital they are to what the country needs in terms of infrastructure.
The answer that both men agree is vital is to get people at home to pressure their congressman or senator because if you can show them and convince them that there are ways to get rid of waste and spending on non highway programs they will provide the cuts they seek you may save cuts to core funding.
In other words, cuts are coming and Congress is not listening to industry lobbyists. And Congress sees across the board cuts as essential.
So find a way to reach your representative. Normally, I’d say your representative is a rather remote pressure point, but in this case, you can actually be influential.