In spite of funding challenges, nation innovating on road projects, says ARTBA report

A new publication published by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says the country is creating cost saving technologies, safety products and state-of-the-art construction equipment to improve transportation projects.

The study, “Economy Driven: Innovations Driving the ROI in U.S. Transportation Infrastructure,” features 25 short case studies of projects that are benefitting U.S. taxpayers.

ARTBA President Pete Ruane told TI News Daily in a written statement, “Congress has created so much uncertainty in the marketplace with 32 short-term funding extensions that state transportation departments have little choice but to delay or cancel scheduled highway and transit improvement projects every year.”

Ruane said that, in turn, jeopardizes private sector jobs and makes capital investment and hiring decisions more risky.

“It’s time for Congress and the president to honestly explain the federal transportation investment situation to the American people and ask for their help in solving the nation’s mobility problems,” he added.

The report has been sent to all members of Congress and more than 30,000 transportation design and construction professionals around the country to highlight the value and many benefits of transportation infrastructure investment.

In one example, the report cited the largest infrastructure project in Florida state history: rebuilding 21 miles of I-4 from Orange County to Seminole County. The project will result in a number of innovations, including 25 approved alternative technical concepts and 27 project technical enhancements that aim to transform the Central Corridor through Orlando. Furthermore, the report said that by using an accelerated design-build construction schedule, the project is expected to be completed 17 years sooner than they would have through traditional funding methods.

However, the report seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

The House on Tuesday voted to extend the Highway Trust Fund financing for two months, another in a series of short-term extensions that began approximately eight years ago.

The temporary reauthorization, which passed 387-35, is expected to go to the Senate later this week. If the measure passes, there would be enough funding to last through the end of July without the need for new revenue. The Highway Trust Fund faces insolvency sometime this summer, industry watchers have said.

ARTBA warns, however, that the ability of state transportation departments to complete future projects could be in jeopardy if Congress does not act soon to find a long-term permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund. The latest authorization of federal highway and public transit funding expires May 31.

The full publication is available on ARTBA’s website, http://www.tmaw.com/

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