ARTBA forms task force for 2009 highway bill authorization

Even though President Bush signed a six-year highway and transit funding bill just last year, a national roadbuilders’ group will soon begin holding meetings to discuss the next round of federal spending legislation.

The current law – SAFETEA-LU — will expire in four years instead of six because it was almost two years overdue. Since the next bill is slated for 2009 and Congress will likely begin hearings late next year, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s task force needs to begin work now, said Matt Jeanneret, senior vice president of communications and marketing for ARTBA.

“Our goal with the task force is to develop the transportation construction industry’s consensus positions on the policy issues in order to help frame the debate on Capitol Hill,” Jeanneret said. “It’s a formula we have used successfully in the past.”

In 1999, ARTBA initiated a similar member task force to develop the association’s legislative blueprint for reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. More than 100 ARTBA members participated in that policy process. In 2001 ARTBA issued a 72-page report of the association’s policy proposals to all members of Congress, several federal agencies and the White House.

The ARTBA SAFETEA-LU Task Force will hold its first formal meeting in Washington next month and will report on its proceedings Sept. 26-29 in San Diego.

The group recently named co-chairs of its SAFETEA-LU reauthorization task force: Tom Hill, chief executive of Washington, D.C.-based Oldcastle Materials, and Paul Yarossi, president of HNTB Holdings in New York.

“Both Tom Hill and Paul Yarossi are distinguished transportation construction industry leaders and bring a wealth of experience to the table,” said Gene McCormick, 2006 ARTBA chairman. “Under their leadership, I’m confident the task force will develop reauthorization proposals reflecting the industry’s consensus position on highway and public transit financing, policy and regulatory issues.”

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