Jul 09, 2018
July 2018 Editor’s Letter
We’ve all heard the saying, put your money where your mouth is. We get the implication to step up and invest in what we “say” we believe in and work toward. I want to challenge you with this month’s note to think about what actions you’ve taken toward advancing the future of your asphalt industry. Yes, this is the obligatory funding editorial all editors write, but I’ve got a fire in my belly for this one.
You see, I attended the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Fly-in mid-May and spent a great deal of time taking notes, listening to leaders and learning. A friend of mine once said of me, “Beware of the quiet ones.”
Let me now pounce on the topic of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and highway funding in general. I don’t think anyone reading this column is ignorant of the situation. Our nation has had to pull monies from the general fund one too many times to bail out the HTF.
We can party like it’s 1999 when someone introduces a bill for $1.2-or-whatever trillion to be allocated for infrastructure, but that bill is kinda silly if there’s not actually any money to back it up. It’s like getting excited if Mom and Dad say, “You can have $75 a week for your allowance!” But neither parent has more than $25 for the family’s groceries each week.
The item to focus on is fixing the HTF. Obviously.
The good news is the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is turning its attention right where it needs to be. Visiting with Reps. Brian Mast, R-Fla., Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla., was the most eye-opening on this topic. These men don’t mince words the way you expect politicians to. Each is looking for ideas and support of those ideas from members of industry for fixing the HTF. Each is aware that the gasoline user fee is fading fast in its usefulness. Each is aware that raising the gas tax would be a big fight for small, short-term gain.
The HTF needs something robust and long-term, and your representatives are looking for ideas to champion. Have you offered any ideas? Have you written to your representatives to thank them for their efforts so far concerning infrastructure funding? Have you visited your representatives either in D.C. or in their home offices? Have you invited them to your facility or home office to see how many of their constituents you employ and influence? Have you done anything to step up and invest in what you “say” you believe in and work toward?
AsphaltPro magazine has pounded this drum for over 10 years and we write to our reps. Sending an editor to D.C. is no “cheap” task for a publication, but it’s important for our industry. The representatives from the state of Florida, and those reps who spoke at the TCC preparatory sessions ahead of individual meetings on Capitol Hill, needed to see full participation from more than the officials at ARTBA and AGC and NAPA, etc. They needed to see real workers and voters from the companies that ARTBA and AGC and NAPA represent.
Next year, will those reps also see you?