The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014 - (Page 6)
executive director's message
New Legislature Poised to
Tackle Old Issues
y the time you read this, the dust
from the Nov. 4 elections will have
settled down and a new year full
of new opportunities will be upon us.
Predicting outcomes for 2015 is impossible, but knowing the issues and priorities
the Alabama Road Builders Association
plans to address is not.
hIGhWAy TRUST FUND
By Tom Layfield
ARBA Executive Director
your efforts with
our elected leaders,
in Washington and
montgomery, over the
next six months could
pay huge dividends as
they determine whether
to take action or kick the
can down road yet again.
As typical with midterm elections, the
President's party got pummeled costing
them control of the U.S. Senate and further depleting their minority ranks in the
U.S. House meaning that the GOP majority's agenda will garner the spotlight.
Making sure a long-term funding solution
for the Highway Trust Fund - current
funding expires May 31, 2015 - is a part
of the GOP agenda is on our priority list.
I'm convinced that our Alabama delegation is supportive of additional funding
for transportation. They understand how
we are inextricably linked to economic
development and job creation - one of
the top polling issues of 2014 campaigns.
I also understand the depth of the financial crisis in Washington and the fiscal
restraint that members of the Alabama
delegation feel compelled to exercise
telling me we still have work to do.
STATe FUNDING - IS IT OUR TIme?
It has been 22 years since the Alabama
Legislature last addressed transportation
funding when it passed the nickel gas
tax increase in 1992. That measure was
initially introduced as five percent in
1991 and did not pass. It was again introduced in 1992, and after all the gnashing
of teeth, jockeying and horse trading,
amended to five cents and passed by one
vote in each house. Had the legislature
passed it with five percent, I wouldn't
be writing about the need for additional
funding at the state level.
Here is a look at the lay of the land.
In legislative elections, both chambers
saw an increase in their GOP majorities
with the Senate attaining as many as
26 of 35 senators and the House reaching
72 of 105 representatives. Re-election
of both presiding officers - Speaker
Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) in the House
and President Pro Tem Del Marsh
(R-Anniston) in the Senate - is all but
assured, and Governor Bentley easily
coasted to his second term.
In addition to continuity in leadership
that, I believe, is supportive, the financial
strain on the State General Fund, which
funds the operations of state agencies,
boards and commissions, may have finally
reached a tipping point. With $1.8 million
in recurring expenses and only $1.4 million in recurring revenue not to mention
the looming crisis in corrections or never
ending appetite of Medicaid, legislators are
going to have to make some tough votes
on revenue raising measures or force steep
cuts to address the perennially strapped
State after state continues to successfully address infrastructure funding as
more and more legislatures recognize it
no longer can, nor should, be ignored.
We need to join the list of those states
that have made funding a priority and
successfully addressed it. An additional
item we need to continue to stress to legislators as they address our funding needs
is restoring the money they are transferring to other agencies from the Road &
Bridge Fund. At just under $90 million,
those funds are desperately needed as the
additional ATRIP bonds are sold and we
see a $60 million increase in debt service
from $30 million to $90 million.
I often write that, "one cannot overstate the importance of governmental
affairs and grassroots efforts..." when
it comes to successful outcomes in the
legislative process. Your efforts with
our elected leaders, in Washington and
Montgomery, over the next six months
could pay huge dividends as they determine whether to take action or kick the
can down road yet again.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014
New Legislature Poised to Tackle Old Issue
New Year Offers Challenges, Opportunities for Industry
2014 Annual Luncheon Highlights
Fall Golf Tournament 2014
The Ed & Charlotte Rodgers Scholarship Fund
Fight for Work Zone Safety Awareness Pushes On
Let’s Reform the Clean Air Act
ALDOT Launches ‘drive Safe Alabama’
Alabama Guardrail, Inc.
Products and Services Marketplace
Index to Advertisers / advertisers.com
Heard Along the Highway
The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014