Better Roads

June 2014

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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D uring his "Invest in America, Commit to the Future" bus tour, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx took a grassroots approach to make the case for a robust multi-year Federal investment for transportation. Talking with transportation heads while on tour, Foxx told me, calling from the road, awareness on Capitol Hill isn't the problem. "I think it's a far bigger problem is 'getting to yes,'" he says, referring to a negotiation strategy. "We are stuck on indecision." This indecision negatively impacts the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is just a few months away from insolvency. If the government cannot pay the bill to states, then states will need to scale back projects and will no longer be funding America's future. Foxx says he and the U.S. Department of Transportation are "trying to reach out and to help everyday Americans understand the U.S. DOT's role…and ask them to encourage members of Congress to jump into conversations before we have a crisis." The transportation community understands the ramifi cations of an insolvent HTF, but that's not always the case outside our industry. There have been 27-short term measures by Congress, 18 continuing resolutions and nine extensions for transportation funding. "We need to make those people who are stuck in traffi c every single day and are frustrated because it's a longer commute than it was 10 years ago understand that this all links up to federal funding," Foxx says. Foxx shared the story of Jana, a high school senior, he met in Birmingham, Alabama. This young lady gets up at 6 a.m. every morning and rides a city bus to a central terminal and then transfers to a transit bus to get to school. "When we talk about transportation as critical, we are talking about kids like Jana," Foxx says. "She needs that connection every day. If Congress doesn't fi gure out [a solution] before August or September, we won't be able to help kids like her get to school…and then we are jeopardizing our future." Now is the time to speak up. Now is not the time to wait for another short-term measure, especially because states and municipalities then just stop planning and going through the engineering process for new infrastructure. Tennessee's transportation director told Foxx that the state is "preparing for the worst." That means if Congress doesn't fi gure out a solution, the state's entire road program will focus only on maintenance and will not build anything new. Foxx says he heard the same sentiments in Missouri. "If that is what we are left with as a country," Foxx says, "if you talk about gridlock, it won't be in Washington, D.C. It will be on Main Street. There is no reason this has to be a partisan issue. There are no Democratic or Republican railways in America." Let's fi gure out how to get to "yes." ❖ by Tina Grady Barbaccia, Editor-At-Large Better Roads June 2014 3 On the Road with Secretary Foxx Editorial Editor-At-Large: Tina Grady Barbaccia Editorial Director: Marcia Gruver Doyle Online Editor: Wayne Grayson Online Managing Editor: Amanda Bayhi Production Editor: Lauren Heartsill Dowdle Editor Emeritus: Kirk Landers Truck Editor: Jack Roberts Construction Editors: Tom Jackson, Tom Kuennen, Dan Brown Design & Production Art Director: Sandy Turner, Jr. Production Designer: Timothy Smith Advertising Production Manager: Linda Hapner Construction Media Senior VP of Market Development, Construction Media: Dan Tidwell VP of Sales, Construction Media: Joe Donald Corporate Chairman/CEO: Mike Reilly President: Brent Reilly Chief Process O cer: Shane Elmore Chief Administration O cer: David Wright Senior Vice President, Sales: Scott Miller Senior Vice President, Editorial and Research: Linda Longton Vice President of Events: Alan Sims Vice President, Audience Development: Stacy McCants Vice President, Digital Services: Nick Reid Vice President, Marketing: Julie Arsenault 3200 Rice Mine Road NE Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 800-633-5953 For change of address and other subscription inquiries, please contact: Better Roads TM magazine, (ISSN 0006-0208) founded in 1931 by Alden F. Perrin, is published monthly by Randall-Reilly Publishing Company, LLC. © 2014. Executive and Administrative offices, 3200 Rice Mine Rd. N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406. Qualified subscriptions solicited exclusively from governmental road agencies, contractors, consultants, research organiza- tions, and equipment and materials suppliers. Single copy price $5.00 in U.S. and Canada. Subscription rate for individuals qualified in U.S. and Canada $24.95. Foreign $105.00. Special group rates to companies quali- fied in quantities over five names. We assume no responsibility for the va- lidity of claims of manufacturers in any advertisement or editorial product information or literature offered by them. Publisher reserves the right to refuse non-qualified subscriptions. Periodical circulation postage paid at Tuscaloosa, Alabama and additional entries. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner. For quality custom reprints, e-prints, and editorial copyright and licensing services please contact: Linda Hapner, (224) 723-5372 or POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to Better Roads, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406. Our big problem with transportation funding is 'lack of clarity' and 'getting to yes.' TransportationTalk TransportationTalk_BR0614.indd 3 6/2/14 1:11 PM

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