The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014 - (Page 6)

executive director's message New Legislature Poised to Tackle Old Issues B 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. 6 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 General Fund. 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 /
Heard Along the Highway

The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014